Having too many games to finish, of course, I picked up another one, Silent Hill – Shattered Memories. I never played the original [because I was purely a PC gamer then]. But even just playing Shattered Memories for an hour, I’m really pulled into this game. Yes, the graphics are part of that draw [notice I didn't say 'for a Wii game' although the animations, the textures, the details all put to shame many Wii games]. As the darkness looms all around, the flashlight creates some stark contrasts while also throwing up shadows to make me doubt sometimes what I think I see.
And so far, the story has pulled me in with a similarly appealing ambiguity. The question of what is real is an old one, going back to the pre-socratics at least and treated well by the likes of Philip K. Dick and many others. Yet, I still find it appealing in this game so far.
Games like this are thoroughly enjoyable, as much as frenetic jumping and action. Yet, some reviewers apparently have attention issues and can’t handle the slow pace, which adds to the game. Does it have ‘dull pacing’? I guess, if you expecting Modern Warfare pacing. Yet, I don’t expect a drama to have the pacing of a summer blockbuster. [Needless to say, I find the Game Informer review way off in its assumptions about what a good game should be, as well as in its assessment of the controls, which I've had no problem with.]
I think the assumption that games have to have X, Y, and Z is a problem because it assumes that we’re homogenous. So, some might not like this game, but that hardly means that it is a bad game. I return to roguelikes as an example of this–if you accept the premises and conditions of a roguelike, you’ll enjoy titles in this genre. But if you don’t accept them, then that doesn’t mean that such games aren’t fun . . . they’re not fun for you.
I find a slower paced game that isn’t driven by combat to be extremely appealing. I accept such a premise for a game. However, some might not. That doesn’t mean that Shattered Memories is therefore a good game . . . I’ll have to play more to judge that. [And it's possible that the game could indeed fail, even on its own terms. But that does not mean the GI review is vindicated . . . you can be right for the wrong reasons.]
Magazines like Game Informer contribute to an aesthetic, to definitions of games. Unfortunately, it’s one largely drawn from about a handful of gaming experiences. They remind me of the Talking Heads’ ‘Once in a lifetime,’ where the character doesn’t know how he arrived where he is. The dogged pursuit of one thing, of one aesthetic, means that we relinquish other aesthetics and pursuits.
Note: I had already drafted this post when I came across gnome’s comments on gaming, art, and industry. I think there’s some overlap between our posts, as it regards some fundamental forces that shape current games.