• "…let's not kid ourselves. If you sell a game that's a first-person shooter, then no matter how many RPG elements you shoe-horn into the game, the shadow that hangs over every character interaction that you have, no matter who they are, is the question in the player's mind of "What happens if I shoot this person?" And that's our own fault! We've sold the player that; we've made a contract with the player that says it's okay to kill people. Why would we then chastise them for exploring that?" Patrick Redding is brilliant. This interview, with Chris Remo on Gamasutra, is great – Remo asks some smart questions, and Redding gives some really smart answers.
  • "The game insists that I focus, even for mundane activities like carrying groceries, on carefully following directions delivered to me visually on-screen. The simple act of carrying groceries is subsumed by the mechanical procedure of executing a series of prompts _for no apparent reason_. This, for me, is the primary disconnect in Heavy Rain. My mechanical game-directed actions don't amplify or add meaning to the in-game behaviors they execute. They don't pull me in; they keep me out. " Hmn. I've been thinking about something similar recently. Time to fire up the blogpostmatron…
  • Lovely, lovely article explaining just how the PeepCode Blog works. The blog itself features unique layouts for every post. There's no CMS, no database, but what's going on under the hood is at least as clever – and the flexibility makes the beautiful and clear pages much easier to build.
  • "…for reasons that baffle me, my TV can only receive the four terrestrial channels, plus a grainy feed from the building’s security cameras. Easy choice."


Far Cry 2 is a difficult game to write about; difficult because it’s an experience that doesn’t coalesce in individual moments or fragments. Whilst there are many memorable moments I can point to – the dynamic, emergent gunfights that characterise the gameplay, the starkness of the major plot beats – it is the player’s overall experience of the game that is its greatest strength.

And isn’t that how things should be? For a game that revels in the open world that it’s set in – a fictitious African country that covers desert and mountain, swamps and savannah – it only seems appropriate that it be a game about the impact of a world on a character, rather than that character’s interactions with the world. Far Cry 2 takes the mechanics of its open-world shooting experience, and works out how to wrap them into a much larger narrative without losing the coherence of the player’s actions.

Far Cry’s references to Conrad (and, in particular, Heart of Darkness) are well-documented already, but I think to focus on the words used, the plot the game follows and the references within the game so explicitly isn’t necessarily useful. What struck me was not the game’s similarity to Conrad; it its much broader, deeper appropriation of literary techniques – whilst using them in an inherently gamelike manner – as a way to tell stories.

(Before we go on: there are likely to be what you might call “spoilers” ahead, so there’s a break in the text for those of you viewing on the web. I don’t see how we can talk meaningfully about this game without talking about specifics, so if you’ve not finished it and really care about this kind of thing, look away now.)

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