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The lampshade

Rogue Warrior Screenshot

When I wrote a post about the Camp aesthetic in games a few years back, I suggested that one of the greatest areas of camp potential in games lay in violence. A commenter suggested I take a look at Rogue Warrior, a universally-panned game inexplicably starring Mickey Rourke as real-life SEAL team commander Richard "Demo Dick" Marcinko. The game did not disappoint: Rogue Warrior is a great example, perhaps the best example, of a game that in its violent excess becomes unintentionally comic.

The Preacher Loop

Half-Life 2: Episode One Screenshot

In a recent commentary on Valve's Half-Life 2 Episodes, Marsh Davies criticizes much of Episode One for its "failure to make your navigation comprehensible, either spatially or narratively." He goes on to praise Episode Two for remembering to provide the player with an overview of its regions, so that the spaces allow the player to see the places he has been, or is going to. As I was reminded in my own recent replay of the original Half-Life and its companion games, this is not a recent improvement by Valve, but a return to form.

The invisible hands

Spec Ops: The Line Screenshot

In Spec Ops: The Line, the natural forces that oil money has so far kept at bay have struck back against the city, burying the modern towers in the red sands of its desert. In the shattered metropolis, a new society has been built, one that breaks the game's protagonists and shows the foolishness of their heroic pretensions.

Poo Dragon

Blue Dragon Screenshot

Released in 2006-07 as an Xbox 360 exclusive, probably with the goal of helping establish the console in Japan, Blue Dragon has inexplicably spawned sequels and a minor multimedia empire. It's reasonably fun, if you like turn-based role-playing games, but Blue Dragon is clearly a bad game.

Armchair Analysis: July NPD observations and Vita post-Gamescom

New Super Mario Bros. 2 Screenshot

Nintendo needs to consider what to do about the Wii. Despite the likelihood of 3DS hardware sales growth over the next few months, Wii sales hit their lowest point ever and are poised to continue sinking without a bit of help. I'm a little surprised that Nintendo hasn't yet proceeded with a price drop to $100 to stimulate sales ahead of the WiiU landing in November.

Cage Kane Payne

Max Payne 3 Screenshot

In a short period of time I have played three games that may not seem to be similar or related. The co-op shooter Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, the straight-up cover shooter Max Payne 3, and the thriller Heavy Rain share a third-person perspective, though, one that reflects their central cinematic aspirations. Although their critical reputations vary, each of these games is an interesting failure in the project of creating a playable movie.

Armchair Analysis: The correction period continues

Prototype 2 Screenshot

Between Sega Europe's painful restructuring and Activision's dismantling of Radical Entertainment, this past week has been another one of those weeks that we'd rather forget. It's always unfortunate when people lose their jobs, and downsizing doesn't often instill confidence that the affected industry is moving in the right direction. These moves are a continuation of the state of correction that the video game industry is in—especially in the console sector.

To clear the crowded sky

Mass Effect 3 Screenshot

Early on, Mass Effect establishes that the Citadel Council forced humanity to establish colonies in dangerous parts of the galaxy, then refused to offer aid when those colonies were inevitably attacked. The existing power structure is only interested in humanity's ability to serve as a buffer against its enemies, not in helping us thrive. Despite all this, humans get a comparatively sweet deal.

Armchair Analysis: The GTA release conundrum

Grand Theft Auto V Screenshot

The most interesting part of Take-Two's 2012 fiscal year earnings conference call covers what was—and what wasn't—said regarding Grand Theft Auto V.

Fear and need

I Am Alive Screenshot

I Am Alive clearly wants to be a serious, adult take on post-apocalyptic survival, and in some respects it is. Unfortunately, the game's treatment of women, among other things, seems to devolve back to the attitudes of a teenaged boy. In I Am Alive, women are helpless objects to be fought over and protected by men.

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