Monthly Archives: October 2013

Metal Gear Solid (1998)

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Before we discuss Metal Gear Solid, we have to talk about why Showgirls is actually a good movie.

When most people watch films, they are not first and foremost watching for technical craftsmanship. This is not meant as a slight, because it’d be a pretty bonkers world if they did, one that would completely undermine film’s century-long history as a populist medium. So, I think it’s safe to say — with no snideness intended — that most people watch films for stories, for relatable characters, for themes they can extrapolate onto their own lives for their own benefit and self-fulfillment. These are the elements we as human beings have deemed the very basics of “good” art and storytelling, the simplest building blocks that explain why applying our empathy to something abstract and stripped-down like the plot of a film is a vital and life-affirming experience. These are also the elements which Showgirls fails to communicate, and why most people reject it upon first encounter. Showgirls is a movie about shallow, stupid people doing shallow, stupid things, and unlike something like Seinfeld — where the characters’ awfulness is always winking at you, and the winking and relatability are the whole point — director Paul Verhoeven has all the sympathy for his creations as the blinding sun harassing hungover strip club denizens at dawn.

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Don’t Worry About Half-Life 3

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Prepare for foreseen consequences.

Last week, digital distribution giant and IRL Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium Valve Software unveiled three announcements about their plans to hurtle PC gaming into the living room. These reveals included a brand new, Linux-based Steam OS; a variety of hackable “Steam Machine” gaming computers available at different price points; and finally (and perhaps most intriguingly), a state-of-the-art controller, supposedly compatible with any game on the Steam service. The controller especially looks like the sort of forward-thinking experiment in play we’ve come to expect from the billion-dollar, flatly organized tech behemoth; it uses sensitive trackpads instead of joysticks, and contains an unobtrusive touchscreen. Developers from across a variety of genres have playtested it, with mainly positive results. But one conspicuous thing stood out about the controller, the last of the highly secretive reveals: It wasn’t Half-Life 3. Continue reading

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