Hideo Kojima's earliest games starred Hollywood actors. 1987's Metal Gear for the MSX2 featured character portraits drawn to resemble popular actors, like Sean Connery, Mel Gibson, and uh...Albert Einstein. Scientists aside, it was a pretty clear mission statement on Kojima's part. He was a man who decided to go into video games, but he came primarily from a film background. Not academically mind you— Kojima studied economics— but he spent much of his childhood making films on an 8mm camera, and watching movies with his parents. He references games like Yuji Hori's 1983 adventure game, The Portopia Serial Murder Case, as the games that inspired him to get into the industry. He was an aspiring short story writer and artist and film maker, and here he was, making games. Games that were inspired almost entirely by movies.
Viewing entries tagged
Metal Gear Solid
Years ago, Nintendo used to hold a show called Space World. It was a sort of Nintendo-only counterpart to Tokyo Game Show, which they didn't (and still don't) attend, where they'd announce new games and consoles, and put them out for the public to play. It had very little to do with space as a concept, but its makes for a very convenient segue into the fact that Nintendo has a crazy shared universe you never knew about, and it all takes place in space. Also, it's all perfectly reasonable and requires no insane leaps in fan fiction logic.
Daniel Rosen continues his adventures in sitting beside a computer monitor and live tweeting every press conference at this year's E3. With EA talking mostly about the concept of video games, and Ubisoft giving Alisha Tyler an annual paycheck, all that's left is Sony.
We get a glimpse of the Sony of 2015, as they showcase Batman: Arkham Knight, Uncharted, Bloodborne, Powers, Dead Island 2, PS Now, and No Man's Sky. They also talk about way more than Daniel alternatively enjoys, snarks on, or attacks vehemently. Like who really wanted Youtube sharing on PS4. It's handy, but come on. It's like clapping for button pressing functionality.
We play games in an ever growing world. I mean that literally, in the sense that there are more people playing video games now than ever before, but also in the sense that worlds we play games in are growing. Expanding to ever greater horizons.
Sometimes, it's because they do incredible new things, shattering our perceptions of what games can be and how they can play. Those are the special games, the one's we'll remember in years, even decades. Often times though, games will go for a more obvious solution to the innovation problem- they get bigger.
Last year, Metal Gear Solid was announced as going open world, so were Mirror's Edge, The Witcher, even Zelda went open world with Link Between Worlds. Every new AAA game announced that isn't a first person shooter is probably either an open world game, or features some open world mechanics. Open worlds are pretty much where it's at these days. Yet, we don't often see a ton of innovation on that concept. Grand Theft Auto is the same core game that it's been since GTA III, Assasin's Creed's solution to improving its open world was to make it bigger and pull a Wind Waker by taking you to the seas. Our worlds are getting bigger, but not necessarily better in any tangible way.
Meanwhile, games in the indie space don't tackle the open world nearly as much as their AAA counterparts. Is it a resource thing? Do they not want to follow the trends set forth by the mainstream industry? Retro City Rampage, an NES-styled take on Grand Theft Auto gameplay took years to make, and didn't really set the world on fire. Even Minecraft, which is technically open world, isn't really played for that aspect. The upcoming No Man's Sky looks absolutely fascinating, but, like Minecraft, it's open world is procedurally generated, making it a pretty different take on the norm. Is that the future of open worlds? Co-opting rogue-like tropes and appealing them to a wider audience?
In a nutshell, what is the future of open worlds? Are they the most stagnant genre in our medium of murder simulators? Or are they, like their name implies, open to changes that we can't even imagine yet?
Let's get lost.
There's just something about games that make me want to love them.
Not romantically or anything. I've never wanted to go to the movies with Dark Souls, or take Spelltower out for a candlelight dinner. There's just this spark in some games that's so powerful, so fascinating, that I can't help but want to like them. There's a soul, a beautiful soul, to the best of games. A kernel of passion that proves beyond a doubt that this is something you should want to love, even if it's flawed.
But this month isn't about loving games, it's about love in games.
Games have tried to approach love for years. Love interests in stories, romantic options for your player character, dating sims, even erotic games can all trace their roots back to the early stages of the medium. We've always been fascinated with digital love, and now, we at Built to Play want to explore that. Love is a pretty mysterious concept in the real space, but its extension into the digital space of videogames is something worth thinking about. Why do we want romantic option? Why do we want to fall in love with things we know aren't real? Why do we let dating sims put the wool over our eyes, and give us an illusory love?
Of course, there's a flip side too. Why do we hate? People hate certain games strongly enough to do something with that rage, same as love. Our primariy interaction with almost any game isn't one of love, it's one of hate, or at least disinterest, why is that? And back to taking Dark Souls out on a date, why do we get so passionate about these things, both positively and negatively? What can we use that passion for?
Love isn't something we can put a label on an understand, and that's not what we're trying to do here. We want to ask a different question. We know why love and games intersect. That much is clear. Love is something we as people crave, and thus it permeates pretty much every artistic medium we have available to us. We want to look at the points that love intersects with games, and see why those intersections matter. And also, why the absence of those intersections matter just as much.
Or in the famous words of Otacon: Do you think love can bloom even on a battlefield?