Saturday, 21 April 2012

Video Games

When you spend so much time with nothing to do, you find ways to try and fill your time. Me? I play and listen to music, read books, swim and jog. Occasionally, I might watch a movie or a TV show. However, before today, I'd never tried video games. I don't know why but I never really got the appeal of them. My parents never bought me them and, even as I grew up, they never attracted or entice me in any particular way. Having played them though?

They're okay. Yeah, not exactly a stunning endorsement, I know, but hear me out. First of all, I'm not going to be a douche like Roger Ebert and say that video games are not an art form. They clearly are and anyone who thinks otherwise is a fucking moron ("line between craftsmanship and art" my fucking ass). Also, I'll admit straight up that by "video games", I don't mean things like Skyrim or whatever is popular with the kids these days, since I don't have any money to buy games (or a console to play them on for that matter). My job provides me with bed, board and expenses but it's basically voluntary beyond that.

So, I ended up playing free games on the Internet. May I begin by saying that Runescape is a pile of crap? Too bad if I can't, because it is. What a meaningless heap of cow manure. In case my concept album post didn't make it clear, I like stories! I get the whole "free-roaming" aesthetic and idea and that's great but when I get bored of free-roaming, there should be a plot for me to go back to. There's a difference between being free and being directionless.

That's why I enjoyed the works of one Adam Atomic because, even with the most scant and minimal details, his games were compelling. They are honestly beautiful. Gravity Hook (about a little dude in an underground military base trying to see how deep down he is) is fun and challenging, while Canabalt (about a slightly taller dude running through a ruined city to escape mysterious machines that are destroying everything) sets new standards in both minimalism and awesomeness. One thing I really liked about them both is that, while they have a clear story, the details of that story are sparse enough that you can fill in the blanks and make up your own version of events each time, unlike Runescape, where shit happens for no apparent reason. Seriously, fuck Runescape.

After that, I tried some of those Facebook games, but they were so mind-numbingly boring that I had to give up after a few minutes. Then I played more Canabalt. That game is really addictive, I swear. On my last playthrough, the running guy was a despotic dictator who had turned the city into a dystopian wasteland and the mysterious machines aren't actually destroying everything, they're just trying to kill him (shit was so cash).

So, that's me and video games. They're alright. Maybe if I had the money to get some of these allegedly awesome ones I hear so much about (admittedly, I am very intrigued by the Fallout series), I'd have more to say about them, but I'm afraid that's simply not the case. An unfortunate fact of life.

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