I’m glad we had the chance to do this, and frankly I wish it’d been reasonable (or realistic) to record a much longer, more organized conversation with such smart people about such a smart game as The Last of Us. As this longest console generation winds down, it seems reasonable to say that this game will be remembered as its crowning achievement, a Shadow of the Colossus for the PS3 era – and that’s two generations in a row wrapped up not with some great bro-shooter epic but with something melancholy, thoughtful, often heartbreaking, and deeply meaningful to those who played it. The Last of Us, from serial hitmaker Naughty Dog, is a game based on a lie. There are zomboids and bandits, there’s beating people to death with bricks, there’re set piece battles aplenty. But it started with the lie, it’s about the lie, and maybe in the end the lie is all that really matters.
Hark! There is a book you must buy. Marcus Sakey, my media mogul brother, Jaime Lannister to my Tyrion, Alan Wake to my Barry, has gone and written another novel. Brilliance, it is called, and it is available on this day for buying with your monies and reading with your eyes. Click upon this link to buy it.
Why that link in particular? Tell you what: first, click and buy, then come back and read this, then go read the book.
Man I’ve been behind these past couple weeks. I’ve barely had a chance to stop by and say hello. I suppose I could say I need more leisure time and fewer responsibilities, really I just need to manage my time better. Anyway, the IGDA is running my Culture Clash columns according to a different schedule, to accommodate the other writers (and the fact that I haven’t exactly been great with deadlines recently). So last month’s, which ridiculed Microsoft for the Xbox One launch, didn’t come out on that site until after they’d reversed their worst blunders. Now I can’t claim that it was my writing, and mine alone, that drove this decision. This one, meanwhile, I wrote and rewrote about a thousand times. Today. The first draft was probably fine, but then I thought I’d do something new with it, then I changed that idea, then I realized my thesis didn’t make sense, then I wound up with this version, which nobody will be happy with. But there’s always next month. Enjoy!
This is Telltale throwing us a bone – a nice meaty bone with some good stuff on it – and hey, I can think of worse things to do with five bucks.
It’s powerful, it’s brutal, it’s stark and funny and tragic. It’s long enough to satisfy even though you don’t want it to end by the time it does. No one else is doing quite what Naughty Dog has done here.
A comment on another site, gone now, removed by overlords perhaps deeming it uncivilized or its author perhaps experiencing a change of heart. Here’s what it said:
Let me just be the first to say fuck you, Tim Schafer, you lying, sleazy ball of shit.
The man whose Double Fine Entertainment singlehandedly created the Kickstarter Phenomenon of Videogame Funding now appears to have singlehandedly redefined its playing field. Yesterday, Schafer announced that despite having raised almost ten times more than the requested $400K, their crowdfunded adventure Broken Age was over budget and behind schedule. In fact, to meet their Fall 2013 original target release, Double Fine would have to cut 75% of the game. That’s a little more than reach exceeding grasp. That’s beginning to look like development based on a lie.
In most every modern 3D video game, you play as a badass white dude who is an expert at every weapon he encounters, regenerates his body in a way that makes him essentially indestructible, and mercilessly massacres other men by the hundreds. In High Moon Studios’ Deadpool, I play as Deadpool. Take that, ludonarrative dissonance!
The image above makes me sad.
I don’t know if the game will replace my bi-weekly D&D game, but as an adaptation of the D&D system in general there’s a lot to like about it. I can see myself spending a lot of my upcoming evenings in Neverwinter.
…most of the traditional “review” stuff is in the video portion; if for some reason you dislike videos and prefer not to read the many words, here’s a sum-up: 4A Games done brung it good. Were this year’s competition less stiff, Last Light could, flaws and all, easily contend for Game of the Year.
What you’ve heard about Deadly Premonition is probably wrong.
Deadly Premonition is not so bad it’s good.
It’s really, really good.
I’ll always buy Naughty Dog games, they having convinced me of their undying committment to our love via the Uncharted series, but I don’t tend to slaver with excitement before they actually come out. Thus I wasn’t suffering from the can’t-waits in the days leading up the The Last of Us, their fungus-fueled post-apocalyptic proxical-parent TPD (third person depressor). I just waited until Friday and bought the game. Didn’t even unwrap it until the next afternoon.
You’ve probably seen boatloads of perfect scores from full reviews already, along with the odd 7.5 outliers that’ve caused such internet furor. Here’s what I have to say, after several hours, several more hideous deaths, and more clicking feral mushroom-zombies than you can throw a bottle to distract.
Gamers are all enthusiastically discussing the announcements and outcome of this week’s E3 conference in Los Angeles. But I spent time last week at a very different conference, the Gotland Game Conference at Gotland University in Visby, Sweden. Most of my photographs of the event are of Visby itself, a city built inside old castle walls and full of historical ruins and charm. But you don’t have to take my word that there was a game conference there! At GGC, I was honored to be a juror and play some very promising student projects that were created right at the school. A few of those below the jump!
This column is doubtless more ironic given my far tamer thoughts on the Xbox One – and console wars in general – I shared with Ben Hoyt just a few days ago. But then E3 happened, and E3 changes everything. Sony is ascendant in the court of public opinion, though by the time I hit “Publish” that could have changed. In a way, though, this Culture Clash column is about a different, subtler clash of cultures than the usual gaming world/nongaming world: gamers who watch and gamers who don’t. All the major companies in this business depend on the majority being gamers who don’t – consumers who don’t follow the industry, don’t study trends, and don’t make decisions based on complex topics like DRM and licensing. Those are the ones who line up in their thousands outside of Best Buy each new console release; those are the ones who move the product, and because they don’t watch, because they don’t care, those are the ones on which Microsoft and Sony alike depend to move their products. Gamers who watch are suspicious. Gamers who don’t may not realize what they’ve put their foot in until all the GameStops shut down. Enjoy!
Friends, put down the controller and don your finest headphones. Come, sit by my fire.