Monday, August 22, 2016

A Game Everyone Should Play

            I have not been posting nearly enough this year and I want to steer back from that.  To that end I have found a 30-day blog challenge and will be writing out entries, hopefully I can get all thirty days without any breaks, and if I manage to do that (since August has 31 days) I will think of an additional entry to write about.  I have done a 30-day challenge before, it for movies, but that was a while back, feel free to read those too if you like.

            Today is day 22 and the topic is “A Game Everyone Should Play”.
            This pick will probably seem pretty odd considering how much I liked “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare”, but considering how much I disliked its many sequels I feel that it makes plenty of sense.  I would also say that it represents a much more mature take on military activities in the context of gaming, borrowing from “Apocalypse Now” (a movie I did not care for) and playing with the finer aspects of gameplay and animation to deliver a message to the player.
            “Spec Ops: The Line” is a critical darling for all the reasons I mentioned and should be played by everyone who enjoy s games as a medium, and more specifically it should be played by people who love the Military-action game archetype as it exists today.  The bleakness of this title will stand in direct opposition to the throbbing stupidity of many others in the genre.  (I have written an unremarkable review about this game before).
There are also a lot of horror elements and dream sequences.
            I almost feel like I do not want to give too much away and instead just point to how it is often on sale on Steam and that I would heartily recommend putting it on your wish list so as to pick it up the next time it cycles into being super inexpensive.  I would then like to point to “Extra Credits” again who did a breakdown (part 1, part 2) of some of the visual and narrative elements in the game that lent it a great deal of symbolic weight.

            This is not by any means the only game anyone should play, and I would argue that much of why I think it should be played comes from how war and heroism are portrayed in our culture.  If someone were to play this without having played other games in the military shooter vein or having watched movies that are militaristic (or worse jingoistic) then it would lose punch.
There are many must play games out there that use games to illustrate points about life, teach history, or help to conceptualize difficult concepts.  When I see things about how using gaming to crowd source science problems has resulted in issues being solved at fantastic rates I have to concede there are games with substantive use to the world out there and applications for gameplay that can change the world.  With those deeper thoughts in mind it is almost myopic to point to any narrative game as something that has to be played.
I know that I was better at math because of a specific “Math Blaster” game that was easy to play and helped hammer in doing math, I know that I know more about world history for having played “Civilization”, and I know that “Sim City” gave my younger self a greater appreciation for the complexities of local government.  Maybe I should have pointed to these things as must play games as I know they will have a greater positive impact on those who play them intellectually.  I don’t know.
Some variation of this was played by me numerous times in elementary school, it made me better at math.
Do you have a game in mind when asked what must be played?  Do you know why you feel that way?  Was it an emotional response?  An intellectual one?  Or is it just you want to recommend something fun and I am over thinking this whole thing?  Post in the comments if you want me to know.


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