Continuing today’s festive programming, here is a Christmas treat from Mickey Rourke In An Old Bad Videogame that I have spent hours and hours and hours deliberating over.
RPS Feature Consent And Education In Videogames
In 2010 stand up comedian Dara O’Briain said, “I love videogames… I enjoy saying that because half of the room are looking at me, going, ‘Ah Jesus, you’re 38.’…It’s less embarrassing if I say ‘I masturbate to hardcore pornography’.”
It wasn’t the first time videogames and pornography were lumped together. In 2008 GamesRadar reported that psychiatrist Dr Jerald Block said that people feel more shame about playing World of Warcraft than having a porn problem. Dr Philip G. Zimbardo, leader of the notorious 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, got a slot on CNN in 2011 to say that the ‘demise of guys’ will be video game and porn addiction. “Young men — who play video games and use porn the most — are being digitally rewired in a totally new way that demands constant stimulation. And those delicate, developing brains are being catered to by video games and porn-on-demand, with a click of the mouse, in endless variety,” he explained.
Why are two intrinsically different mediums like games and pornography so often compared to each other? I decided to ask James Deen [official website], performer in and maker of fine adult entertainment, what he thought about games, and if we have a responsibility to hold off on the ‘constant stimulation’. Disclosure: I have a vested interest in the answer being no, and so does he.
RPS Feature Men and women can’t be friends
This week I’ve been trying to think about a relationship between a man and a woman in a game where they become close, but don’t actually have romantic involvement or a silly damsel in distress situation. There’s a strange set up that is echoed throughout our culture that [heterosexual] men and women can’t be friends, just like in Billy Crystal’s famous speech in When Harry Met Sally. ‘You realise of course that we can never be friends. …Men and women can’t be friends, because the sex part always gets in the way.’ ‘I have a number of men friends…’ ‘They all wanna have sex with you. No man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.’
Well BILLY CRYSTAL. Why don’t we start up Full Throttle and prove you wrong you silly Monsters Inc-voicing maniac.
RPS Feature Two Games As One
In the middle of the sort of teen love you only seem to get in ‘edgy’ Channel Four dramas I heard the Primal Scream track Come Together for the first time. It played at the end of the British rave culture movie Human Traffic. Strange to me to hear such a slow, elated thing in an era where fast pop beats were ruling my life, where Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Beyonce’s Crazy In Love were the things I danced to. It was a time at which euphemisms did not occur to me. Now to the ear Come Together seems so nineties, so optimistic, like it is actually putting up utopian buildings in the mind like they would appear as you scrolled over the world in Populous. It made that one relationship I was in seem like it was constructing a glittering wall around us. “We are together”. “We are unified”. “We are together”, Jesse Jackson says over and over in the track. Here are two games, What We Did, and reProgram, that are about being together. Unified. Together.
The first time I ever wrote anything about games, it was because I was still brokenhearted about a relationship that had dissolved years ago. PC Gamer edited the 4000 word essay into a six pager about Dota in 2012 and it is still one of the best things I have ever written. But wherever I go, whatever I do, games participate in a meaningful way in many of the relationships I see. Welcome to a special edition of S.EXE: the love letters edition. Brace yourself, you are in for chop. Here are seven stories about falling in love next to a loading screen.
RPS Feature Not That Kind Of Dome
“You have made a career of playing stupid shit,” my friend tells me, as she stares at me playing a 2D MS-DOS platformer that sees a naked man with a semi erect cock jump around collecting beer and pissing on doors to open them. “It may be true,” I say, grazing the man’s knob-end off the side of a floating platform that is strangely reminiscent of Sonic The Hedgehog levels. I leave the naked man to idle for a moment, and his John Thomas drips. This is the eternal metaphor for video games, I think, looking at my character fire urine at things and try to locate a woman to bone, both using a thing that is just more flesh-coloured than usual. It’s time to go back to the old school of MS-DOS, friends! Come and visit Romantic Encounters At The Dome with me via Dan Dolme and Sex Vixens In Space. I promise one of them will be good.
RPS Feature Hunkmas
RPS, I have been having a good time. An extremely good time. I mean a good time in every way: A new gay dating sim has snuck into existence, it is called Coming Out On Top, and it is funny, sexy, nervewracking, tense, charming… and it has fully naked, good-looking dudes in it. Who kiss each other! And do other hot 18+ things. Also there is a goldfish who keeps talking to you. The goldfish is a little overbearing. But we can get past the goldfish.
Tune in after the jump to read about a full release of the gay dude dating sim Coming Out On Top.
Well, Wargaming are releasing another World of Warthing game soon! World of Warships is in beta. *Takes DEEP BREATH* But what about World of Warbicycles? World of Warballoons? World of Wargo-karts? World of Warjetskis? World of WarVespas? How about SEASONAL World of WarSleighs? Anyway click ‘more’ to see the first gameplay trailer, I promise I’ll shut up.
Will I though
It’s not knowledge I often get to use, but I have a shodan in Iaido, the Japanese art of the drawing of the sword. I practised Musoshinden Ryu in a budoukan on the quiet side of Kagoshima city, Japan. It is a precise and very frustrating martial art to learn: one learns first how to tie the hakama, or plaited trousers, then one learns how to tie the obi so that the sword hilt sits almost horizontal, right at the navel for quick draw. Then one learns to sit, for hours, in seiza – folded knees. Then meditation, a bow to the sword on the floor in front of you.
But Kiai: Resonance gets right, aha, to the point. It’s a samurai duelling game about one hit kills. One hit kills were the speciality of the samurai in the Kagoshima region, where I studied.
I haven’t been back to Scotland, my motherland, for a long time. Beeswing is a game about small-town Scotland released a few days ago. It is written in snippets of philosophy and folklore. It is told through hand-drawn maps and gentle guitar strokes. It is Final Fantasy on a small scale, in the spirit of Yumei Nikki, hand-illustrated and studded with the kind of Scottish duality people don’t talk about any more. In Beeswing I feel acquainted with death, but not in a morbid way. In Beeswing I feel like I am home in summers of Loch Lomond watching bees suckle pink flowers and dance between the heads of heather. I wanted to call my mother at a point, in fact, a thing I forget to do but Beeswing tattooed it into my consciousness. Beeswing sent me home.
Dear Rock, Paper, Shotgun,
I miss your smile. I miss your comments on my previews wondering how much sugar I have consumed to write it and what the heck kind of quirky BS is this and whether I will or will not ever get around to writing about triple A video games for you. But I come to you today to ask you about yourself. What is it, my pretty lovelies, that you are playing right now? I would like to know. And I miss you.
RPS Feature Meta-romance
When Max Payne, the dark bullet-time Sam Spade-’em-up game came out in 2001, I thought it possessed a most ingenious game meta-narrative moment. (I was sixteen, and I was easily wowed.) If my memory serves correctly, at one point our raspy-voiced Phillip Marlowe stand-in Max is injected with an overdose of the drug Valkyrie, a heroinesque substance, and hallucinates for a few levels. At one point he remarks in horror that he can see his own health bar. He’s in a nightmare, he’s in a video game.
I am now twenty-nine and really difficult to please, but I can say confidently that Creatures Such As We is an elegant, intricate meta-narrative about player emotional investment and romancing non-player characters. Max Payne would do a Keanuface at it.
Submissions for the EGX Rezzed 2015 Leftfield Collection are now open! It’s free to enter your indie game into this showcase curated by the very talented and discerning David Hayward, with the opportunity to be shown at Eurogamer’s big fancy games show. Indie developers are invited to submit their games before the 16th January. You can find more info after the jump.
French electronic music duo Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter often wear large shiny helmets to make up the sound of Daft Punk, headgear that often remind me of French firefighter Gallet F1-SF helmets. I like to think that they are not in fact firefighters in the future, but CYBERRACING CAR drivers just taking a break to chill in the club and create some sweet beats for assorted dancingpeople.
Distance is the sort of arcade racing game you imagine Daft Punk procured their snazzy helmets from – the developers claim it’s Trials Evolution + Rush 2049 + Halo + Tron: Legacy, and it’s out on Steam Early Access on the 9th of December on Windows, Mac and Linux.
As I roamed the murky, blustery undershelf of the PC gaming dark, snuffling through bright flashes and old command lines, little pinpricks of pixels making freckles over my skin, I heard a voice. The voice was Alice’s, and she called to me from her outpost by the tea-make in Stepney. All of a sudden my hand thirsted for a rein, the noise of the electric plains in my ears; I gazed into the ochre mesas and stacks drifting into the horizon, and with a six-string on my back I plunged through into Owen Deery’s Colt55 desert of frictionless gaze, to find a horse.
The title of this game made me think of 1) Captain Birdseye and 2) a ‘Crow’s Nest’, you know, that pirate lookout post thing on tall ships. So now what I am thinking of is a game where you play Captain Birdseye on a mission to go and get some tasty fish fingers and you are travelling the high seas in the Crow’s Nest to locate some fish fingers that some nasty fish finger bandits have dumped in the sea. In this scenario the fish fingers float, so you can scoop them up with a net and then put it in your treasure chest so your mum can heat them up later.
It turns out that The Crow’s Eye is actually a suspense-laden first-person ‘terror’ adventure with hints of crafting. So. I guess there’ll be no fish fingers?
A thing that video games have proved mostly garbage at is approaching issues of gender – now when I say that you might think I’m merely talking about how women are portrayed, but pretty much any portrayal of gender gets a simplistic portrayal in games. A simple way to deconstruct gender issues might be to look at how powerful language is at changing attitudes, making people behave differently, or at how bullying as a kind of constructive dismissal decimates self esteem.
RPS Feature Rock, Paper, Scissoring
Someone sent me this ‘All-Girl Sex Simulation’ Girlvania because I guess I have this reputation now. What I did was I got some All Girls together (women who have sex with other women) in the New York Museum of Sex bar, plied them with alcohol, and asked them to look at the game. Is this a thing you can count as your job? I guess this is my job now. Asking New York lesbians what they think of virtual women fucking each other over outlandishly named cocktails. Anyway this is not going to be safe for work (in text or images) and prepare yourself for Jeff Goldblum sweats.