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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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Brad Garrison is a DHS agent who is highly adaptable to any given situation, trained to deal with numerous threats under tight deadlines and can suck up a gunshot wound like an 80’s action movie hero. Yet, even under that cold and tough demeanour, he’s always thinking about everybody’s welfare over his own. To top it all, he even dresses like Danny Glover in Predator 2.

In summary, he’s the ultimate badass.

Sadly, Brad is also black.

I’m not racist, so let me reiterate here. He’s a black guy in a Japanese zombie game.

It doesn’t end well.

*sigh*



While Dead Rising is famous for the massive hordes of the walking dead, the real strength always lied in the surviving characters. Most usually dismiss the plot because of the flaming hoops you’re forced to jump through to progress, but if you actually stick with it, you’re treated to a surprisingly sharp attempt at satire through an exotic lens.

Dead Rising isn’t really a game about zombies. It’s really about Fat America and the selfishness that arises from it. Yet, none of this would actually work if it wasn’t for the supporting cast. That’s right, the supporting cast and not the main hero.

Frank West is a self-serving, arrogant (albeit highly likable) freelance photo-journalist who doesn’t actually care about anything beyond his Pulitzer Prize-baiting scoop. Between the lines of the story, the player can choose to rescue survivors and whether or not they survive on their way back to the Security Room is a moot point; they’re ultimately a diversifying interactive element and expendable to the plot. When the player isn’t in control, Frank doesn’t even give these people a second glance in the cut-scenes. He’s always seen chasing after the next clue for that elusive ‘once in a lifetime’ photograph.



The real face and cost of what’s happening is found in people orbiting around his world. While the psychopaths that roam the mall are cartoonish and offbeat, like the chainsaw wielding clown, Frank’s allies are portrayed as real people in unreal circumstances. Brad and his partner, Jessie, fit the bill of good people getting a bad deal over something another branch of their own Government did.

As the player, you’re put in the shoes of a maverick reporter and the first person to save your life turns out to work for Homeland Security. From the off, you’re being told to hate Brad because you’re in George W. Bush’s Glorious Second Term and he’s tight lipped about the situation.

The guy acts like your dad.

He’s cramping your style and shit.

All you want to do is go out in the Food Court and perform wrestling moves on zombies. Every time you do, he’s there in the Security Room doing his best Carl Weathers’ mad eyed stare and telling you to straighten up.



Later on, there’s a scene where Frank smarmily tells Brad and Jessie that he has a helicopter coming to pick him up in three days. Brad is immediately counting off a list of survival items. He even goes out of his way to collect canned foods and blankets while you’re out. For a brief moment, his game of cat and mouse with the terrorist takes a back seat.

What does our main protagonist, nay hero, actually do while all of this happening?

Nothing.

Nada.

Zip.

Frank couldn’t give a toss as long as long as he gets the next lead. The only way he kills time is by finding new ways to prune body parts with garden shears. Rescuing a survivor or two just means he’s wasted an hour of waiting around.



There’s eventually a mutual trust between the agents and Frank, as the latter learns that his fellow survivors are as much in the dark as he is. It goes without saying that not everybody in the Civil Service is a sociopath wanting a New World Order.

As someone who’s worked in the Welsh Assembly, this writer can tell you nobody in local government knows how to order train tickets, let alone plan 9/11.



Of course, things go from bad to worse and Brad makes the mistake of chasing the main antagonist down a zombie-packed maintenance tunnel; still, he’s only doing his job. For a moment, you think he might succeed since he’s already been shot in the leg earlier (which he miraculously recovers from) and the helicopter will arrive in just a few hours.

Alas, it just isn’t to be.



Throughout Dead Rising, Brad is a man who deals in heroics on a regular basis. When he’s not in the Security Room reluctantly giving the decision to solder the door shut for everyone’s safety (except those on the ‘wrong’ side), he’s usually diving around, barking orders and capping zombies in that slow, calm efficiency that Samuel L Jackson always does when he needs a few minutes more screen time.

His final scene is the complete opposite of the spectrum. He sounds absolutely terrified despite his acceptance of the situation. Brad eventually trusts Frank enough to allow him the killing blow and it’s truly sad when Frank realises that this is the first of his newfound friends to die. If you’re eagle-eyed enough, you might even notice that Brad wears a wedding ring.

Way to put you on a guilt trip, huh?

The population of Willamette had nothing to do with the zombie outbreak at Santa Cabeza, but as the viewer, you don’t really feel for any of them as you rev up a lawnmower and go to town on their shuffling feet. When Brad dies however, it just goes to show you that collateral damage is hard hitting when you’re not passively viewing it through a camera lens.



Still, why does the good black guy have to die first anyway?

In videogames, you can only have two things happen to you depending on the colour of your skin; be a tightrope walking stereotype that doles out comic relief or be a serious, fleshed out character that has to die because that blessing is also a story development curse.

If you’re not Louis from Left 4 Dead, who is quite clearly insane to be that optimistic while wearing a tie in a zombie apocalypse, then you’re usually Zach Hammond from Dead Space and if you’re the latter, then you better kiss your limbs goodbye.

Of course, this piece isn’t about Brad Garrison being the first black character ever to be portrayed in the right light (there’s been others, trust me). He’s just one of those supporting characters where part of you feels like you want to play that guy instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with Frank West. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Brad would be generic as videogame protagonist and the aspects that make him special as supporting character would be rendered redundant as a result. His onscreen actions are awesome because they’re scripted that way, along with his antagonistic foil towards the anti-hero. Frank has a personality that allows the player to both mess around and stay somewhat in character; especially with the photography element. Therefore, you get all the fun of the fair with Frank instead of Brad.

Still, there’ll always be love for this guy and to die unsung would really bring him down. Oh, see what I did there?




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