Gloomy visions of the future weigh heavy, a promised Armageddon from which there can be no possible escape. There can be no preventing of these apocalyptic events, for they have already come to pass. This is our doom. The seal is opened. Come and see.
Category Archives: DOS
In the intro video for Lemmings 2: The Tribes, a grizzled old lemming tells an enraptured youth a tale of The Guiding Force, a figure of ancient legend who shepherded their people through the hardships of their time and brought them to prosperity, and of her prophecised return, before both turn to look directly at the camera like they’re on The Office. This reclassifying of the original Lemmings into the realm of mythology is presented with tongue firmly in cheek, and yet, in its critical and commercial success, the game was an absolutely monolithic presence in the world of gaming in the UK, and the enormity of the task of producing a true sequel (as opposed to a mere expansion) really could not be overstated. Read the rest of this entry »
Iain wrote this one.
Have we done a cyberpunk dystopia on AAA yet? Turrican was cybermetal; something as bare and isolating as Metroid doesn’t quite fit either half; Impossible Mission II came closest but has its own idiosyncratic niche (plus: too damn suave). So I guess the lovingly detailed high tech gloom of Syndicate was something new to many gamers. Its suit-encased guards and harsh architecture, its world of garish advertising screens and missions for corporate saboteurs presented in medi-scan silhouette with green lines to data, was novel and, more importantly, cool.
In every artistic medium, there are works that defy the limitations of the conditions in which they were made to become timeless classics, creations that hold every part of their appeal countless years later. And then, on the opposite end of the scale, there are things like The 7th Guest. I’m not sure there’s a single game that we’ve covered on this blog so far that has aged as poorly as this. Like Predator and Tower of Babel before it, it suffers mightily from the issue of its primary selling point being the showcasing of shiny new technology that is now hopelessly outdated. But with The 7th Guest, the problem is exacerbated further by the technology in question being the wonders of CD-ROM and its ability to put actual real humans onto your computer screen, which the game then uses to present the world’s hammiest actors in the most cliché-ridden haunted house story known to man.
Star Wars is, and forgive me for stating the obvious here, an enormously popular film series. And it has been for a full forty years now. Everyone has seen Star Wars or, if they haven’t, at least knows the broad strokes of what it’s all about. In 1993, I don’t think I’d seen any Star Wars films yet, but I could have told you that Luke Skywalker is a Jedi, and he teams up with Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi and some robots to fight Darth Vader, who is his father. And the beginning of 1993, a decade after Return of the Jedi and a few months before the hype train started rolling for The Phantom Menace, is probably approaching the lowest ebb in Star Wars’ popularity, which makes it something of a curious time for us to have our first (spoiler alert: the first of oh so many) meeting with the franchise here on AAA.
Iain wrote this one.
It’s a little paradoxical that one of the most complicated game series that will pop up on AAA should also be one of the most casual. Casual, at least, in the sense of being the least tied down to those immersed in the medium of video games. The most arcane JRPGs or most layered RTSs have nothing on the impenetrability of Championship Manager. They definitely bear less resemblance to a business analysis spreadsheet. I try to picture coming into Championship Manager from a starting point of no relevant knowledge and can only imagine it being incomprehensible. There’s the rub, though – its complexity comes through piggybacking on football’s cultural dominance, and the resultant assumption that no one will come to it from a zero starting point.
Iain wrote this one.
What happens after you die? It’s an age old question that it’s difficult to get a proven answer to. If there is a consciousness that hangs around and can have some influence, it appears reduced to messing with Ouija boards and stuff and not convincing many. If faith leads to other answers, it’s well, faith. If consciousness stays on, uninvolved, as a skyclad observer before taking up life again, any knowledge transfer between the two is one way at best — if life is but one experience among more, it’s an utterly immersive one. Even what happens to the physical form seems likely to escape you post-death. Alone in the Dark answers that one for the character you play, at least. After he or she dies, their body gets dragged by monsters to some kind of altar below its haunted house and, though the process is a little fuzzy, eldritch horrors are unleashed as a result. It’s nice to know.