Friday, August 1, 2008


I am really quite shocked and disgusted at some ideas for games. Seriously. At some point it came to my attention that there's a game that exists to make fun of women. Fat women, no less. It's a strategy-esque game of sorts where the sole point and joke is to force feed a cute, rotund woman as many sweets as you can in order to do better at the game.

Disgusting, my friends. Disgusting. Where to even start?

First of all, I am sick of the cliche "female" look. All this pointless frippery and doodads and cutesy clothing. HEY, CHARACTER DESIGNERS. REAL WOMEN WEAR JEANS AND T-SHIRTS. Why not a leather jacket instead of some "feminine" fiddle-faddle?

Secondly, I am sick of seeing yet another woman with a non heteronormative body type to be totally desexualized.

And what you do to her is just dehumanizing. Shoving sweet foods and things barely recognizable as food into her, level after level. And if you don't? You lose. This game is as good as saying its male players will "win" at life if they can find a wife they can keep complacent just by feeding.

And yeah, way to reinforce existing stupid stereotypes. No woman can resist eating a piece of cake in front of her, amiright ladies? That's all we're good for. Eating cakes and eating, well, more cake.

Ms. Pacman, we will tolerate your antics no more.

Welcome to the world of tomorrow!

Sure, I am excited about Fallout 3, Fallouts 1&2 are only my favorite games ever. And right behind them falls the first Diablo (though 2 didn't offer enough improvement to really impress me.) So of course I've got wood for Diablo III as well.

But I'm pretty sure the entire internet does, so until I get to play them (and probably even after) I can't say anything that hasn't been said in a million other places. So here's something else I'm excited about, that isn't plastered all over the entire internet.

It's The Path.

I've read the blog, I've watched the videos (several times), looked at all the screenshots, and listened to the fairy tale readings on the site. The only thing I haven't really done is read the forums, since forums scare me, but as I get more and more excited I'll probably start doing that too. And after all that I can't even imagine what playing this game will actually feel like.

I know it has fairy tales. I love fairy tales, intuitively and academically. I've loved Jarboe's music since I was a freshman in high school and thought it was cool to listen to things no one else did. But the important part is now that I'm out of that silly phase I love it even more. I love the horror genre above all others. So I know I will like this game.

But what is it?

These little taglines hint at important choices to make, and actions with consequences.

There is one rule in the game. And it needs to be broken.
There is one goal. And when you attain it, you die.


will you take the path of needles, or the path of pins?

The last game I remember making that promise its major selling point was Fable (also somewhat fairy tale based. hmm...) and oh man was that a letdown. Oh, so important consequences to your actions means your character looks different, or people yell different things when you come near them? And with just a little bit of work you can flip between good and evil, rich and poor, married and single, fat and thin. Those aren't consequences.

What are consequences in games, then? All sorts of games have laid claim to them, but have any really delivered? Wow...that's a heavy topic and I know if tried to really tackle it I would get way off topic (more than I am already) and that topic is the awesomeness of The Path. (Joe, you should write about consequences in games.)

And maybe I'm even wrong on all that. But there's another thing it definitely promises to deliver.

It also promises narrative. Real, traditional and honest-to-god. Given the sandbox nature of most games lately there hasn't been much room for narrative. As a lover of good, elegant, concise fiction this makes me sad. Other games have great stories, characters, dialog, et al., but it's hard to really feel like other games are some cohesive work happening in real time when I'm constantly running off to find out what happens where the map ends, or leveling up to max just for the hell of it, or hunting down bonus items and quests.

And maybe that's all the game will offer. A story so compelling it leaves you with the illusion of consequences.

The real point is, I can't wait. And hopefully you can't either.