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Most of us know by now that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon’s a good-natured parody of ’80s silliness. But… the ’80s were 30 years ago. Think about that, as grody and un-cool as that sounds! There are people walking around going about their totally bogus everyday lives who don’t know what makes the ’80s so ’80s! Even though most of today’s culture is just recycled stuff from the ’80s! Hello, Transformers and G.I. Joe!
To help alleviate the cultural disconnect, here are some of the shout-outs and familiar tropes Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon exhumes from the ’80s, the decade that never dies, that you ’90s and ’00s babies may not recognize. Put on your acid jeans and turn up the Wang Chung. Things are about to get radical. Radical to the MAX.
We can’t let the 80s go. The remakes and sequels to movies from that era like Miami Vice, Die Hard and Tron are proof enough. Then, somewhere along the way, our nostalgia for that decadent decade gave rise to “neo-80s”, a mini-movement in film, music and games that repackages the neon colors and synthesized soundtracks into new experiences. Ryan Gosling’s crime film Drive from a couple years ago, with its flamingo font and electro-pop score, may be the mainspring of this new sub-genre. Since then games like Double Dragon Neon, Hotline Miami and Retro City Rampage emerged, almost certainly inspired by Drive and our collective memory of VHS tapes and NES carts. As a fan of action movies with practical effects, electro synth and 8-bit games — and everything I just name-dropped in this intro — I’d love to see more games (and things in general) recapture that style. Like closely-related cyberpunk, these kitschy moods and atmospheres speak right to my tastes.
INTERACTIVE CD-ROM!! Oh my god, why didn’t we talk about the advent of CD-ROM and how Jurassic Park and video games at the time introduced the world to a whole new frontier of media… storage?! No, instead we talk about the influence of Jurassic Park and video games that capitalizated on the dinosaur craze of the 90s. Will the craze come back? Find out, as we tackle, uh, everything from Dino Crisis to Monster Hunter, to video game movies, back to dinosaur games, to Capcom’s woes once more, to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Shovel Knight and Batman: Arkham Origins?! Sure. Will Greenwald of PCMag.com, Terry Lewis of The Other View and resident action expert Gabriel Zamora join me in one of our more irreverent escapades.
Be sure to check below for more trivial nonsense!
A few months ago, Persona 4 Golden for Vita sucked up hours of my life even as it declared the importance of socializing. Shin Megami Tensei IV for 3DS looks to do the same this July. Between the two, we have Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, an updated port for the 3DS of a Sega Saturn title from 1997. It, too, traps me in its sticky web of interlocking systems, charming characters and grainy mid-90s visuals. Is it an essential RPG like Persona 4 Golden? Perhaps not, but it is a decent time capsule worth unearthing for fans of demon fusions and dungeon-delving.
Just in time for the Jetstream Sam DLC, action game expert Gabriel Zamora and I chat about Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Spoilers abound in this one, so if you haven’t played Kojima Productions and Platinum Games’ action hit, it’d be best to sit this one out. If you played it then this is the episode for you! We discuss a lot — bosses like Monsoon and Sundowner, Raiden as a character, comparisons to DmC: Devil May Cry and other action games, and what Rising maybe could have done better.
Monster Hunter excels in its sense of teamwork and community, much like Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast over a decade ago. It combines the 4-players-only community aspect of Phantasy Star Online with the challenge of Demon’s/Dark Souls and the complexity and choice of Capcom’s own Street Fighter. It’s hard for me to be objective about this game. I love it, and encourage anyone curious to give it a chance.
2013 has already proven quite the year for the 3DS. Who could have guessed that Nintendo’s handheld would have the most exciting software library of any console this year? It’s only the first quarter, but the platform already hosts Fire Emblem: Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, with more games on the way (some of which are titles we covered in part one of our look at the 3DS onslaught).
In part two, we turn an eye toward the rest of the year. First, we’ll run through the titles that will most likely get localized given the overall popularity of their brands. The last two, however, are up in the air despite how interesting they look. Put up enough of a ballyhoo on Twitter and publishers may change their mind.
It was no contest. The line around the Supergiant Games booth dwarfed the indie side of PAX East. It looked as if everyone and their cosplaying mother wanted to get their hands on Transistor, the spiritual successor to Bastion. Supergiant’s first big hit made a lot of fans back in 2011 for its superb soundtrack, painterly visuals, and inclusion of a gruff narrator who told your tale in real-time as you played it. The deep-if-not-exactly challenging gameplay helped, yes, but it was Bastion’s lush presentation that set itself apart and captivated so many. Though it shares the same isometric view and a similar emphasis on sound and art style, Transistor takes the formula established by Bastion even further.
At PAX East, we were all together in the same enormous room! And after a few drinks we decided to record our conversation. The chat swings from Capcom and the treatment of their franchises, especially Mega Man, to the ridiculous state the overall industry has fallen into where games sell 3 to 5 million copies yet are still considered failures, to indie developers to games journalism. Eric Guzman and Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey L. Wilson dominate the discussion with input from Gabriel Zamora, Isaac Rouse, Terry Lewis of The Other View and me.
Montreal-based Spearhead Games, made up of developers who worked on Assassin’s Creed, Dead Space, and Army of Two, had Tiny Brains to show at the indie section in PAX East this past weekend. Clad in lab coats and surrounded by flasks and beakers filled with blue liquid and, well, tiny brains, co-founder Simon Darveau (he was design director on Assassin’s Creed 3) and his colleagues introduced me to their action/puzzle game designed around co-operative teamwork. Darveau said this game was built for yelling at friends, pizza parties and yelling at friends during pizza parties. After a play session with three other PAX-goers, I saw what he meant.