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A self proclaimed professor of survival horror despite only having a BA (Hons) degree in film. Go figure.

Okay, maybe I should write more here but I once did an interview for Law's blog, which explains everything about me.

In the meantime, I'm just a guy who writes about videogame theory and how the medium can achieve better cinematic emulation (while keeping its own indentity). Though, if that's too boring, you can always find something delightfully fluffy in the following:

Gamer Obscura

Gregory Horror Show
Glass Rose
Michigan: Report From Hell
Hellnight
Steambot Chronicles
Chase The Express
The X Files FMV Game
SOS: The Final Escape & Raw Danger
G-Police & G-Police: Weapons of Justice
Koudelka
Friday The 13th: The Computer Game
Hard Edge
DENNIS HOPPER featuring Black Dahlia
Harvester
The Note
The Police Quest Collection
It Came From The Desert
Blade Runner
Men in Black: The Game
Famicom Detective Club Part II
Toonstruck
Ham-Ham Heartbreak

Unsung Heroes

Brad Garrison (Dead Rising)
Jenny Romano (The Darkness)
Cass (Fallout: New Vegas)

Hey, check out these inane ramblings:

The Vague History of UK Videogame TV shows

Part 1 (Bad Influence, Gamesmaster & Games World)
Part 2 (BITS & videoGaiden/consoleVania)
Part 3 (the worst and the future)

The Assimilation of Eastern & Western Horror in Videogames

Part 1 (The Eastern/Western Horror Assimilation)
Part 2 (Interaction and Narrative)
Part 3 (Case Study)

Random

Skip To The End: Max Payne 2
The Lost Idea of An Adventures of Pete & Pete Game
My Unpopular Opinion: I Liked Alone in The Dark 5
Hey BBC! Where's My Doctor Who Game?!
Loving Dr. Chakwas
The 'Fun Simulacrum' of Movie/TV License Games
Why Devs Don't Get The Colonial Marines From Aliens
It's Okay To Like B-Movie Games
Endings That Made Me Cry...Like A Man
Who Do You Trust?
Dancing With Myself
My Unpopular Opinion: Silent Hill 4 Deserved Better
Theme Hospital & The Embarrassing Operation of Old
When It Comes To Noir in Videogames, "It's Chinatown"
My Irreverent & Irrelevant Awards Show 2010
Amateur Bedroom Critics
Sydney Briar is Alive
The Big Gumbo
Alan Wake's Hallowiener Special
...And So I Watch You From Afar

Nostaljourney

Some poor sap let me onto their awesome podcast. These are the horrific results...

Deus Ex
Resident Evil 2
Duke Nukem 3D

Secret Moon Base

They sent me into space for this podcast. There were no survivors...

Fiddling Nightbear

Monthly Musings

I Suck At Games: Stretching My RPGs Out into A Year & A Half Ordeal

Improving Gaming Communities: We Need A Gaming Fonzie

The Future: Laughing At The Past

Something About Sex: It's A Conquest, Not A Catalyst

Alternate Reality: "My other car is a Trotmobile!"

Teh Bias: Starting At The Ground Floor

Groundhog Day: One DeSoto, Two Carefree Owners

Front Page

Nothing Is Sacred: 'It looks like the lock is broken. I can't open it.'

Love/Hate: Shark Jumping Videogame Writers

E for Effort: The Adventures of Mega & Master (A Cautionary Tale)

The Lament of Solitary Antagonistic Horror

2010 Sucked: Why Cing Will Be Unknowingly Missed

Technical Difficulties: Rainbow Six FUBAR

Cass from New Vegas

Honest Endings for Honest Hearts

Growing Old Disgracefully

Thanks for reading!
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For all its low budget faults, and lack of ambition, there’s a mesmeric quality to Grasshopper Manufacture’s Michigan: Report From Hell. Your role is strictly supportive, as the only true requirement is to keep filming for a news network’s audience; complete with a simmering subtext concerning the current state of journalism, and the selfishness of our passive nature.

Fascinating as it sounds, Michigan is not the first (the similar, live action, the FEAR preceded it), or even the last, videogame to deal directly with our love of voyeurism. Yet, in an industry that increasingly assimilates the cinematic gaze with an interactive medium, rarely is the act dissected beyond a brief epiphany.

Voyeurism has been, ironically, pushed to the fringes of videogames.



Arguably, the obvious spotlight of voyeurism was at its strongest during the FMV era. Those titles were mostly a technological excuse to put film on to CD, and even though, it was deemed an evolutionary dead end, those years bore some broken delights, e.g. Night Trap, Double Switch, Psychic Detective, The X Files, and Voyeur.

The latter is an intriguing case of turning the passive gaze into an interactive investment, at its purest form. You play a private investigator, hired to dig the dirt on a presidential candidate’s associates, which quickly escalates into a potential Rear Window scenario.

All with the acting finesse of a Shannon Tweed erotic thriller.

The idea was that you watched a movie, with simultaneous scenes, and had to decide which ones were important for the narrative whole. In an effort to engage the player, the metaphorical carrot on a stick was introduced in the form of soft-core nudity and the need to zoom in on documents.



Night Trap wouldn’t have been remembered the way it was without the Scooby Doo events and multiple paths. As a by-product, Night Trap’s campiness did more harm than good to the serious discussion of voyeurism. It had an interesting concept, stalking the villains that, in turn, stalked their victims, but everybody talks about “that shower scene”, instead.

The X Files went further, thus proving that FMV was utilised in the wrong way, by handing full investigative reins over to the player. The first act involved Agent Wilmore staking out a warehouse, and accumulating footage for analysis. He even had to wait for lab results. Yet, for every glacial procedural, there was a tense situation; searching a truck cabin, before the owner came back.

It’s this rare balancing act, of watching in the shadows and taking chances in the open, which interests developers. It’s a formula that works well for players, too.



Tom Clancy titles, like Rainbow Six, always have a mission where one character is sent into a heavily guarded mansion, to place bugs and cameras on key objectives, without being seen. The problem with that is you never really see the fruits of your labour, unless, you’re stacking up outside a door, and marking targets for a tactical breach.

Information gathering doesn’t need to be relegated to intensive combat, though. Personally, a co-operative videogame based on wire-tapping would be an amazing prospect.

You can almost visualise the multiplayer aspect of character classes, working together to set up the perfect sting, gather information, and finally, burst into an explosive situation. A perfect formation of tense and release dynamics waiting to be experimented on.

Forget the idea of searching for the Citizen Kane of videogames, try The Wire, The Anderson Tapes, or The Lives of Others, instead.



The forthcoming Spy Party is a deadly game of Guess Who?, but from an indie developer. The fact it’s not another financially safe retro-platformer suggests people do want to explore the idea of surveillance in unexpected ways.

It’s reminiscent of Gregory Horror Show’s selling point of working out everyone’s routine, by following their daily schedule, preferably without being seen. Throw a spanner in the works with a curious staff member giving away your position, or a disgruntled guest out for your blood, and the whole process of spying becomes an intelligent slow burner; one that was published by Capcom, of all companies.



Certainly, there’s a reluctance to come up with such dedication for minimum gain, and yet, we experience voyeurism in many genres.

Players have watched others through a sniper scope, or a drone, on a mini-LCD screen, attached to a snake camera. They’ve also seen ghosts through magic cameras, spied on people’s routines (solely for FBI purposes, Zach), watched someone else’s survival through security cameras, and surveyed portals to other worlds.

In essence, we’ve observed the actions of others, human or AI, and shaped their fates with the press of a button; usually without them ever knowing.

Though, the act is one of patience, it doesn’t mean that the entire lead-up has to be time consuming, too. There just has to be enough enticement in any given situation, one that can be cut up and returned to on a regular basis; as was the case with Silent Hill 4: The Room and Forbidden Siren.



When voyeurism doesn’t work, it’s when the title is ambitious, and the element is diluted in a competition of ideas. As discussed, the times when we become aware of our “stop and stare” instinct, the games are intensive. They’re set in small locations or situations that aren’t always in the distance.

For all the manic release in a bank robbery during The Heist or Kane & Lynch: Fragile Alliance, there's the feeling that a more methodical approach awaits in the shadows.

Then again, maybe because of the fluidity of voyeurism, an act that permeates every videogame, it really is better off outside our mind’s eye, rather become a gimmick in the spotlight. We’ll never know, unless, people are willing to examine it in such naturally sinister detail.

Oh, FYI, if there’s ever a Sneakers multiplayer game, dibs on being Sydney Poitier.



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