This Saturday was the VGAs, an event which annually brings gamers together to watch with a grimace as phony awards are doled out while Hollywood boils down gaming culture to the ugliest of stereotypes. Anyone with a brain hates it, but can’t help tune in for the train wreck that actively insults you as it comes to a fiery screeching halt.
This year I had a prior engagement. It was my Mom’s birthday party so some family and I took her out to a German beer garden. We aren’t German, but… have you ever been to a German beer garden? It’s awesome. The food is fatty and indulgent and the beer flows like, well, water. They also shout at you when you order a large beer, like I did: 2 liters in an enormous glass boot. Living the dream. So there I sat in the “Hunter’s Lodge” section of the restaurant, adorned with various animal heads, oblivious to the VGAs’ goings-on.
Once the gifts were unwrapped and the birthday festivities ended, I returned home and noticed Twitter was much more chatty than normal. It didn’t take long for me to recall that the VGAs were on. Sarah and I watched a live stream on my laptop in the kitchen. When I say watch, what I really mean is sigh and talk over the various announcers. Once something stupendously stupid happened or was said, we would both begin furiously typing our clever quips into our iPhone for Twitter’s enjoyment. Did I already say living the dream?
Yes, we were in rare form:
And there was one crowning moment, in which a teabagging was executed:
But enough of me trying to sound clever, let’s get on with actual gaming news that came out of the event.
The first trailer for Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us was revealed at the show:
A zombie game by the crew who brought us Uncharted is sure to move some copies. They also perfectly perpetuate the acceptable American protagonist stereotype:
Race: Come on. What do you think?
Hair: Not quite brown, not quite black
Beard: Not quite grizzled, not quite sculpted
Age: Indeterminable but not too old or too young
Build: Shows signs that gyms are still intact after the collapse of man
Female tag-along: A child, sure to need plenty of rescuing
Bravo to Naughty Dog for using their klout to shake up the industry.
Despite all this, I must admit I am interested to see what the game’s general system is like. Naughty Dog are good at keeping players immersed in action, resulting in more of an “interactive movie” feel. That playstyle could be especially powerful when combined with the tension and fear associated with a good zombie flick. I may be hard on it at first glance, but I am eager to learn more.
And finally, the only other trailer that I feel like talking about is Metal Gear Rising: Revengence (ugh). Produced by Kojima Productions and developed by Platinum Studios. Yeah. That should give you an indication of things to come:
Now, it may have been the 2 liters of Oktoberfest I drank earlier, but I actually felt sad when I saw this trailer. Genuine sadness; burning eyes — go ahead and call me any name you please. It’s the truth. Somewhere in the indulgent violence of blindly-fast blade slashes and severed cyborg parts I saw what I never hoped I’d see from Metal Gear: death and destruction made out to be enjoyable.
The Metal Gear franchise was the only one who could give you a gun and make you realize you were holding a powerful tool, capable of taking something from someone they could never have back. This stood in stark contrast to the litany of FPS titles which made guns look like a system of long range tag. Now, with Metal Gear Rising, the gravity of Raiden’s katana is about equal to that of a gun in your average FPS: you use it to fuck shit up with no remorse.
Sure, the enemies are cyborgs, not humans (who just happen to eject a fluid that looks exactly like blood). Sure, it’s a reboot. Sure, Raiden is insane (and with good reason). Despite all these facts, I never wanted to see anything connected to the Metal Gear Solid universe (however loosely) that gave me this feeling. It feels like a dramatic shift from substance to fireworks — from lush forests and wilderness outposts to blood-stained concrete. It feels wrong. I hope my initial impressions are incorrectly based on a trailer geared towards the VGA audience, and the final product will prove less shallow. I really do.