So I DIDN’T play Far Cry 3…

It seems really fun, though. I don’t have any beef with Far Cry 3.

But I hate this guy.

Long story short, the head writer of Far Cry 3 says that Far Cry 3 seems like a gratuitously racist and violent video game power fantasy because it’s a satire of gratuitously racist and violent video game power fantasies.

Saying Far Cry 3 is a satire of violent video game power fantasies is like saying ketchup is a satire of the color red.

Putting a quote from Alice in Wonderland on the label of the bottle doesn’t stop the bottle from containing ketchup.

Let’s talk about Bayonetta.

Bayonetta is a game where you play as a tall, leggy witch who summons demons to defeat her foes by getting naked, routinely runs directly up the sides of buildings, shoots bullets out of her shoes as a regular thing she does, and rides a missile into a holy city to defeat the leader of the religious sect that resides there.

Did Hideki Kamiya make Bayonetta to comment on the sexualization of women in video games and the sinister policies of institutionalized religions?


Mostly, Kamiya thought Bayonneta was really sexy and cool, and Vatican-esque architecture and biblical imagery make for really cool environments. He likes those things.

Bayonetta is as ridiculous and over-the-top as action games with nonsensical stories come, because Kamiya likes ridiculous over-the-top action games.

I think I’m in a unique position, reading what this Yohalem guy has to say and how he talks about his own work, as I have listened to Uwe Boll talk about his work in exactly the same way.

“This was dumb.”
“Exactly! And how did that make you feeeeeeel?”

Far Cry 3 has the opposite problem of No More Heroes.

No More Heroes is not a very fun video game, but it is a broader and more successful commentary on video games, their industry, and the people who play them, because literally every single portion of the game – from aesthetics to writing to gameplay mechanics to the very final moments – is devoted to this commentary.

Far Cry 3 seems to have nothing to say, but it’s still really fun.

Why can’t this guy just be proud of his fun, stupid game?

So I played Virtue’s Last Reward

I dropped Persona 4: The Golden for a while because my brother told me I had to play this game to completion.

Here’s the thing. The visual novel genre has been going strong in Japan for a long while without making its way over here.

So the fact that the two games in the Zero Escape series have made their way over here means two things.

1) Visual novels on the whole have very little appeal, but

2) Zero Escape does something to separate itself from all the rest.

When you look at the roster of characters for Virtue’s Last Reward (designed by Capcom artist Kinu Nishimura) you might think, “Whoa, this is Japanese as fuck.”

But anyone who played played 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors will tell you that writer Kotaro Uchikoshi is a man with a wide range of interests, especially when compared to other Japanese video game scenario writers.

The idea of a group of people stuck someplace with no memory of how they got there and needing to adhere to a set of rules to escape is directly influenced by the Cube series of movies. Indeed, the second Zero Escape game expands on the possibilities of its predecessor much in the same way the second Cube movie does.

I learned in school that a good story should not only be gripping, but teach you something new as well. Like all good science fiction, the plot devices in these games are based on existing, actually fascinating scientific theories.

There are also some not so real, but very convincing ideas as well. Both games make direct and oblique references to the works of Kurt Vonnegut. It’s so fucking comforting to know these guys have read a book before setting out to write an interactive one themselves, and don’t just get all of their ideas from anime.

I won’t suggest these are as good as Vonnegut’s works, but like them, there are giant ideas being used to explain some very intimate things.

This is the best science fiction video game of the year. Maybe of the past few years.

And the characters of Zero Escape seem at first glance to be molded from all the old stereotypes. In many ways, they are. But they change. What’s nice about the format of the visual novel – they’re basically a choose-your-adventure book – is that you get to decide what happens. And because of the nature of the story, your decisions not only affect you, but the rest of the cast. Some of them become desperate. You get to see all the characters at their best and at their worst.

This is a game you play more than once. You have to. It’s kind of the point. To say more would be to say too much. Let’s just say that while it introduces you to the concept of the visual novel, it also deconstructs the genre as you play it. While so many AAA titles are trying to make games more like movies, Virtue’s Last Reward argues that there are as many or more similarities to the novel – the long-form narrative, the player’s control of the flow of time…

Virtue’s Last Reward is the Spec Ops: The Line of puzzle-based visual novels.