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Will developers stop putting scary monsters in games?

Will developers stop putting scary monsters in games?

Half-Life 2 is out today. From the sounds of it – a first-person shooter set in a dystopian oppressive alternative Earth that’s been taken over by aliens (as yer do) – it sounds just like my kind of game.

Except I’m not going to buy it because I know I will jump, scream like a simpering girlie and cower behind the screen whenever monsters like these make an appearance. For heavens’ sake, I shrieked when the spiders first made an appearance in Quake 2.

It gets worse. It was late at night, and I was playing Enter The Matrix. (Well, pressing keys at random really). I hadn’t moved my character for a while, just so I could try to get my bearings and figure out what to do next. Then the camera zoomed in on him, and he looked back at me, straight into my eyes, as if asking what to do next. Which is quite clever, but eerily spooky and weird, and I haven’t dared to play it since.

Getting scared over pixels on a TV set. Pathetic. Maybe I really do need to see a therapist.

The entertainment vs computer industry

The entertainment vs computer industry

If you need an example of how the computer world is so cut-off and insular to the rest of human society, then consider this little letter from the computer industry to the entertainment one (courtesy of Boing Boing and blackbeltjones), and consider this choice quote:

“Look at us: every year, we churn out more computer games than your entire industry is worth.”

Yes, because the computer games industry charges £50 for its’ twenty hours of fun, whereas the cinema charges £10 for two hours of fun. That’s not even getting into the high cost (in terms of money and knowledge) of getting into computing, as opposed to just walking into your local cinema or pub or music gig. (Although people better than me have pointed out that the entertainment and computer industry are in the same team – trying to create better more useful things for consumers)

Stop 10 people at random in the high street – and I bet you at least 7 of them will profess to only using computers at work, and not for any real entertainment value beyond swapping email memes.

When I lived in London, I was steeped in the nu meeja dotcom world, where everyone arranged evening outings by email or IM, and when I proudly had a watch that played MP3s, no-one asked the simple question: Why?

Fast forward to my first days in Cardiff, back with my old school buddies. I’d have to actually use the phone, and they of course pointed out that said watch was an ugly carbuncle of a monstrosity.

Why bother with CGI breasts?

Why bother with CGI breasts?

Apparently, Playboy will feature video game character pin-ups in the next issue. Why ?!

Say what you will about the pneumatically-enhanced blondes/brunettes of this world like Jordan, Pamela Anderson and the truly grotesque Lolo Ferrari, but at least they were real human beings. You could follow their exploits in the press, “dream” of meeting them, or perhaps one day meet a woman who looked like them. Probably in a brothel but that’s another story.

So why on earth would teen boys eschew the Jordans and Jolies of the world, in favour of utterly artificial one-dimensional female characters who don’t live beyond the computer screen? You can’t touch them, and you can’t find out what they do in nightclubs. All you can literally do is fantasize.

Even then there’s something definitively sexless about the CGI characters on offer. If I told you there was a leather-clad buxom half-vampiress babe on offer, you might go “ooooh”. Mickey Glitter would. But the actual image of Bloodrayne is unlikely to get anyone’s heart (or other organ) pumping.

Having said all that, the likes of Kirsten Dunst (from Spiderman 1), Angelina Jolie and Julianne Moore are equally unattainable. Although at least they’re real and Ms. Moore is posing nude for W magazine, presumably without too much Photoshopping. Where do I get a copy?

Enter The Matrix

Enter The Matrix

Well, I played it for a while and …

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