Jun 28, 2012

It's a Fight: Silent Hill & Narrative Combat

Fight or flight. Human instinct. All basic.

The instantaneous decision of whether to flee or face up to your predator runs in us all, and the Silent Hill series mines that as another source of its tension. This is less about the monsters being "hard," than the very idea of facing them. The unpredictable nature of the world of “Hill” 1-4 are such that venturing anywhere might lead you some place uncomfortable.
all derive from silenthill.wikia.com
Paradox: horror gamers want to be scared, but try to avoid being scared. Fight, or flight.

A common complaint from reviewers not cogent of how to review is that the series features “bad” combat.

Or, as IGN puts it: "If this is your first time playing Silent Hill 2 or 3, you will instantly notice how outdated the combat system is, even for a PS2 game. The melee is slow and clunky, and the firearms auto lock on the monster's torso."

Technically, this is true. In a creative vacuum, compared to current actioners Gears of War 3 or Call of Duty: Black Ops, this is true. But in the standard that matters—that of coherency of communication and narrative—the combat excels.

Jun 12, 2012

My writings gone elsewhere

A complete list of my appearances outside of Strange Country:

On other blogs, people have added to and responded to my initial thoughts here, which you might find interesting:

12/11: Andreea Bancla's university Architecture Journal features my views on Batman: Arkham City. The whole journal is worth checking out, as game architecture is rarely discussed beyond level design. 

Jun 9, 2012

Resident Evil 5: Chris Redfield in the Linear Labyrinth

Featured on Critical Distance and Gamasutra.
[all images courtesy of residentevil.wikia.com]

Many words exist about the racism/colonialism of Resident Evil 5, but few about the spaces these ideas inhabit. Those are equally problematic.