TROUBLE CITY

MCP: GAMING NEWS ROUNDUP - 05.22.07

Master Control ProgramIan ArbuckleComment

MCP It's a dust bowl out there today. I bet everyone is just glued to their console of choice, playing Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Me? I'm delaying my breakfast to bring you a couple crumbs to chew on.

First, the disposable news: Resident Evil 4 for the Wii has received an excellent review score from the Japanese game press. It has scored a near-perfect 38 in a Famitsu offshoot. That generally means that the game is a good one. Think of Famitsu as a bellwether, an entity which maintains the capacity to be hopeleslly, entirely wrong.

I like Game Set Watch's coverage here of the issue of violence in videogames as raised at the Sony Gamer's Day. The upcoming PSP game God of War: Chains of Olympus is used as an example, about which the games director, Cory Barlog, comments: "We really wanted to stick to that [violent] mentality, creating situations within the game to force the player to choose, and kind of morally have to be, what Kratos is like." Simon over at GSW thinks Barlog's argument is a poor one, but it represents game developers taking an authorial stance, rather than a passive one, when it comes to incorporating violence in their games.

Whether games have the potential to become art still hasn't been resolved adequately, but, in my opinion, gaming could use a bit more application of the auteur theory, since that obviates at least some of the desperation to appeal to lowest common denominator audiences. When appealing to those audiences, little to no justification for design decisions has to be made. I'm a firm believer that accountability in creativity leads to more solid creations.

I've got a second piece of serious and interesting thought for you, courtesy this fine feature at Gamasutra. It's called "Why We Need More Boring Games," and is written by Ian Bogost, whose name is awesome, and who helped found the issues-oriented developer Persuasive Games. The feature covers some surprisingly cogent words from Marc Ecko, as well as considers what might happen when games become "domesticated" for wide consumption. His conclusion has got me scratching my head idly. I'm guessing I don't understand the argument fully, since the impression I get is of forced relativity in the quality of games. Give it a read, and let me know what you think in the Daily Roundup thread on our boards.