Sundays are for catching up on emails, commissioning words about videogames, and plotting for a Christmas break. Let’s go.
Start with the arcade classics and Atari 2600, from Asteroids to Zaxxon. After a year, move on to the 8-bit era with the NES and Sega classics. The next year, the SNES, Game Boy, and classic PC adventure games. Then the PlayStation and N64, Xbox and GBA, and so on until we’re caught up with the modern era of gaming.
And I hate that there Elite, I hate Elite’s place in the videogame pantheon because instead of making space a wonderous place to explore, instead of visualising a myriad of breathtaking things, it made space a job. It made you a courier in a vast nothing. Sometimes it let you shoot lasers but lasers in videogames are abundant things. Wonder, I fear, not so much. It made space small because work is work is work. I never wanted to work in space. Truth be told, I never really wanted to work at all but needs must and all that.
Three Fourths Home is a game about family. Created by Bracket Games, it casts players as a 24-year-old girl named Kelly who’s moved back into her parents’ house in rural Nebraska after an extended period of living away from home. She lost her job. She was out of options. So now she’s back home, but things have changed—and so has she. One day, Kelly wakes up early, hops in her car, and decides to just… drive. Into the pouring rain, past the vast expanse of nothing and corn fields that is her hometown.
Once again the Pug underperforms. You can display him up to 1080p, but it’s actually upscaled from 720p. He’s always got a tagnut hanging out too, which drops it into sub-HD standard. His owner needs to grit his teeth, think of England and get that out of there. This isn’t 1999 anymore, we won’t tolerate sub-HD dogs with poopy bums.
Such phenomenon occur in other areas of life all the time. People return home for the holidays and find their high school posters and bedsheets, items that betray the embarrassing fandoms that they belonged to in adolescence. I’ve stumbled across old doodles and term papers that left me baffled or embarrassed. In the information age, this type of embarrassing discovery has migrated to the digital space. Someone discovers your angsty LiveJournal or you find a foray into MSPaint pixel art on an old hard drive. As simulations and systems, video games offer a unique form of this self-rediscovery.
GTA has handled the leap between generations superbly in a technical sense, but it hasn’t dealt nearly as well with the consequences. GTA now looks and feels closer to the real world than it ever has before, but tonally it remains stuck in cartoon land – and so many of its elements seem different, despite being mechanically unchanged, because the look means they are different.
They’re hybrids of endurance tests and hypnotizing ambient happenings, television that aims to be the opposite of what we’re accustomed to. They’re plotless and unedited, very low on drama and without many cues as to how to feel while you stare and listen.