I played through Alan Wake prior to the actual release, before much was made of its fairly vigorous “promotional consideration.” I’ve already said that as a writer in the Northwest, liking a game about a writer in the Northwest was probably a foregone conclusion. I never got tired of the way their technology manipulates light, and there are discussions to be had about the narrative itself that are worth having. I didn’t notice the brands, or didn’t care, because I was trying to keep my entire body contiguous, or I was busy looking at something else - but God damn, guys. God damn.
G4TV’s Stephen Johnson wonders if it isn’t the worst product placement in gaming history, but we might differ there. He even wonders if such a mercenary play on the part of Remedy, Microsoft, and Verizon doesn’t place the entire medium of games beyond the realm of art. That’s a pretty grand assertion, and the ground beneath it isn’t especially secure. We’re like oldbitties clucking at the purity of art these days, but patronage is now, and has been, a thing.
Anyway, it’s certainly got the worst Achievement ever in “Boob Tube,” one which doles out gamerscore for finding a secret advertisement. The endeavor is stupid, offensive, and insulting; that’s sufficient grounds for us to dislike it. We need not dismantle the entire edifice of electronic entertainment as an expressive medium in order to agree that this is some bullshit.
I’ve got a copy of Blur, it’s sitting here, but I know it will keep; I know it won’t move of its own volition, and I have it on good authority that the bits won’t spoil. Even Red Dead Redemption, which my mind embroiders with every third clock cycle, must holster its weapon. Tonight, we bring Lost Planet to a close.
Whenever and wherever noteworthy things happen, people can often be heard to say “Did you see that shit?” in an excited tone. They want to know whether or not you saw the shit. The elaborate animated kills in Halo: Reach (just as an example) are fun to pull off, but they’re at least as fun for your teammates to see. From Chaos Theory to Conviction, watching your friends stalk human prey is pure exhilaration. I’m having a blast in RDR - my desire to see it through is unwavering - but there’s no question that it was much, much better when Gabriel and I were playing it together. Indeed, that’s more or less the entire thesis of my website. You want to know that someone, somewhere, saw the fucking shit.
I don’t know what essentially human part of our consciousness is responsible for it, but having another person with you - even if they only happen to be “with” you, in quotation marks - somehow compounds the reality of an event. It’s probably for something really important, like learning, but tonight I’m going to use it to enhance my alien genocide.