Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Retrospective, Part 1

Originally I had intended posts 191-200 to be a top-10 list of my favourites from posts 1-190. So much for that. I wouldn't consider this a "top 5" as I intend to browse through my archives from beginning to end, and I may find 5 posts I like well enough before I'm quite through. 5 might be a better number than 10, a less self-indulgent number perhaps (but not by much).

Turns out the first post that I would even consider for this dubious distinction is the one in which that I argue against the term "murder simulators" for violent videogames, and yet argue FOR the definition as a direction in which videogames should move in order to gain respect as an artistic medium. It's one of the first posts on this blog that I can re-read without cringing (too much), and notably without the miserable self-pity that I SWEAR did not seem so irritating when I wrote it!

I still like the idea that someday, a game will challenge me to kill a character that isn't just a faceless enemy. I worry, however, that it can't be done: that we as gamers have been conditioned to think of things in such black-and-white terms that even if a beloved character turns traitor we would not hesitate for a moment before pulling the trigger. Consider, though, that Half-Life's G-man - probably the only interesting character ever to appear in an FPS - came about when Valve realized that there was value in playing with our preconceptions about friends and foes. Game developers: play with them some more!

I will post again with non-recycled content later in the day. For now, fire up the way back machine!


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