This feature I wrote for Unwinnable could just as easily be a biography. I wrote about my asthmatic childhood, fear of death and games as therapy.
It was escapism in the best sense of the word. Games became therapeutic, a mental distraction whereby plastic game pieces or karts replaced unpleasant thoughts, physical pain and a general sadness. Through games I escaped the lingering thought that I nearly died and the insidious idea that I still could.
Published on GamerNode, this review of the 2012 reboot of the SSX franchise exemplifies the experiential lens I love to use when writing reviews.
SSX‘s eclectic, exhilarating soundtrack, featuring relevant electronic, rock, and rap artists, matches the action on the slopes literally beat for beat. For example, in the earlier account of my experience with the game, the bass dropped as I hit the ground. This wasn’t a coincidence. Music slows to build tension in mid-air, rewinds when time is rewound in-game, and slams each song’s heaviest parts into the snowboarder’s ears after landing a huge trick or big jump. The game does the same to imported music as well. This interactive music compliments the action exceptionally, and is one of the best uses of an in-game soundtrack I’ve ever experienced.
Heavy Fire: Afghanistan Review
My review of the abysmal Heavy Fire: Afghanistan also delves deeper than detailing its failed vision; rather, I argue about its inherent problem: being a war shooter that simplifies play down to on-rails, time-limited pulling of a trigger.
The on-rails action works well to keep action flowing at a near-constant pace, but the ride restricts the agency that gives war games the context that they so often need. Without control, how does one see why we’re at war in the first place? Am I there to protect something, perhaps defuse a bomb? Or am I just there to shoot some Afghans and have a bit of “fun”? I found myself asking this question throughout, without an answer. There is no overarching conflict, but Heavy Fire doesn’t care.