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Okay, not so humane, but still sincere in its intentions, right? Wrong. This is the game that takes some sadisticly delicious pleasure in frustrating your self-esteem and confusing your brain more succesfully than any confuse-a-cat before.
You have probably heard all those songs of praise and symphonies of cacophonic horror Deadly Premonition has received. And, despite what your favourite game-critic / friend / mom said, it's all ephemeral until you experience it on your own.
So, here it is, my personal experience with DP. Not a review, not a “been there-shat pants”, but an opinion. A subjective piece of intimate malarkey.
When you meet a strange sort of fella, it's highly doubtable you'll remember him/her as more than a “phew, that was one fancy block I saw” after the first meeting. Yet, you feel that inexplicable desire to get together later and learn more. Mysterious things always attract. That's like, some private ancient law.
However, as you find more about the stuff you previously considered inconceivable, your look at it changes. It ain't so incomprehensible anymore. Furthermore, as you keep trying to reason with it, your looking also affects it, even changes it at some point. Looking at something changes it. Them fancy folks call it “The Uncertainty Principle”. So why did I smarty-pants about it?
Well, Deadly Premonition always was quite a polarizing experience. For some, it was a work of genius, for others – utter crapfest. As persons, each with different experiences and opinions, we cannot be “objective” in any true sense of this word. Ever. But that's why I love Deadly Premonition. It just doesn't give two roughly-edged (yet delicately spiced) shits about what you think.
Deadly Premonition lives its own life (as close as someone could say that about any videogame). Every NPC even has his own week schedule. You could stay under their windows for hours, peeping as they cook dinner, watch TV, drink beer and workout. Why on Earth would one even do that? Hell, if I know, but it certainly ups the game's independent spirit.
And while it doesn't really care about your opinion, it strangely wouldn't mind becoming your friend. Even more, it quite actively longs to be closer to you. From the first moments and until the very end of the game, main protagonist is speaking with someone named Zach. You know you aren't Zach, right? (in case, you are, remember: I deeply envy you) So why does he keep adressing you? These whole between-missions rides feel like hanging out with your little nutty (though, incredibly lovable) grandpa. He may be implausibly awkward for most of the times, yet you don't mind spending an hour or two just listening to his amazingly weird stories (and oh, boy, he sure does have a couple!).
Here lies a beauty of Deadly Premonition: regardless of its loony antics and demented nature, it's natural. It may look oh-so-wacky on the outside, but dig deeper and you could find a story about lost souls seeking for a way out of their torturous daily lives. Or a schizophrenically bizzare tale of friendship and retribution. It's not because the game is ingenious in its storytelling techniques or innovative message (*spoilers* it isn't). No. Deadly Premonition is natural, because it appreciates its insanity.
You may judge its clunky controls, as you ride to the other end of town listening to the sweet, ear-bursting sounds of your car's never-shuttin-up engine. You may drop a huge criticizing bomb on its shooting mechanics and bland level designs. But it can't be different, it can't be easier or “more comfortable”. Your usual blockbusters may treat you like a favourite customer, but not Deadly Premonition.
Deadly Premonition respects you not only as a player, but as a person. It doesn't run itself into an infinite mystery-solving circle to the point when you're forced to believe that Scooby-Doo did it; it's not going to fool you like Heavy Rain did. In fact, you would be pleasantly surprised, when you'll watch its "whodunit" carefully unfolding. It's unpredictable, yet totally sane in its twisted logic. And surprisingly confident at that. Like an old clown, whom nobody takes seriously, may astonish you with all the knowledge he collected for years of getting his face hit with a cake.
That said, I can't recommend it to you. Neither can I advise you to totally dismiss it. In the end, it all comes to an old, worn-out question, “Why do we play videogames?”
For addictive gameplay? Story? Unique worlds created by somebody's wild imagination? Or for making us appreciate every single moment of our lives spent with people close to our hearts?
There's no right answer. The same goes for Deadly Premonition.
Be dazed. Be confused.
Isn't it the joy of life?
But seriously, there's no much mystery to that. We love commercials because sometimes they're honestly trying to sell us ordinary products by using extraordinary means. And when they also attempt to be creative while doing it, you can't help but feel sympathetic.
"Then what is the purpose of the topic?", one could ask. Stop asking for purpose everywhere, you existential creep! Enjoy the ride with good-ol' fashioned fun! Just imagine like you're watching TV, and then bam! -
Here goes this thing!
Or that other... stuff!
Here's your personal Dr. Pepper for appropriate scenery!
We'll begin our wonderful voyage into the depths of this mad, mad, mad, mad (and totally bonkers!) world of commercial tomfoolery by counting down "Top 10 (and beyond!) of the most wacky and affecting TV videogame ads to ever hit the small screen!"
Number 10. SEGA Being Jerks.
What's more healthy way to win the competition than sleazy crushing your opponent right there, on TV? By doing it in style, of course. Clockwork Orange style!
Number 9. That Moment COD Was Being Suddenly Cool.
Bombastic commercial done right. The weird part: it has elegantly captured the sheer joy of playing games for fun; just fooling around and blowing stuff up, you know. Plus, there's Jonah Hill and AC/DC. What's not to like?
Number 8. It's a Sony.
It's only does everything. Especially, scaring you shitless. On a serious note, you could find something mysteriously captivating in this PS2 commercial created by Bjork's collaborator, Chris Cunningham. Just don't look her in the eyes. Seriously, I warned you.
Number 7. Nintendo Being Nintendo.
You probably have already seen these ones, as they're widely popular. So here's a quick rundown. There are sights of Mario beating the living crap outta Yoshi; Link dancing to the sounds of funky 90's j-pop; and Kirby being fingered around. You know, the usual.
Number 6. Sweet, sweet memories.
Nintendo loves going nuts now and then. But sometimes, they show their soft side. And it's as soft as Robin Williams' bushy beard. His magical personality and his daughter's irresistable cuteness both works wonderfully in this ad. May his soul rest in peace for all those enchanting moments he endowed us with his presence.
Number 5. The Hero We Deserve.
Have you ever wondered how Sony came up with an idea for Kevin Butler, a man of infinite confidence (you can't deny his badassery). Then send your regards to the Main Man - Segata Sanshiro! Being Sega Saturn's mascot, he not only had enough charisma to handle the ad campaign, but also managed to become the legend in the meantime.
Number 4. Island of Broken Dreams.
Yep. As a huge fan of LOST, I had improbable hopes for Dead Island after I've seen this trailer. It was emotional. It was masterfully crafted. With music as the definite highlight, it had me anticipating this game so blindly, I didn't even noticed how hard it punched me in the guts after it came out. It still hurts (thank God they went with more believable tone in another great trailer, though).
Number 3. Nintendo vs. Sega. Round Two!
Personally, I am torn amidst these two. It's like choosing between unapologetically loony and equally delicious perverted cakes. Shame Sega hid their marketing division deep down their arse after Dreamcast's failure.
Number 2. An Angel with Gun in Her Hand.
Perfect synthesis of form and sound. Twisted black humor. Lovely (and somewhat melodramatic) song. It's an original way to sell any game, right? And, of course, it didn't help to increase the sales. But as I look at that guy's delighted grin, I understand one important thing - a true love can blew anyone away.
Number 1. I have lived...
Just watch it. Then you'll see I had absolutely fair reasons to put it way up here. It's gracefully balancing the line between being too ambitious for its own good and just plain flatulent. And it feels natural. A sincere "Ode to Joy" for gamers. For any person, for that matter, as it helps us to identify ourselves and understand that "no matter who we are, we are closer to each other than you could possibly think". The true joy of gaming.
Thank you all for reading thus far. Be well and love games.
“Because that's how I like it!”
– my friend exclaimed once, when I was acting suspiciously curious about why he spends an enormous amount of time in Dota 2.
Why did I even ask him that? I knew the guy. We grew up together. I always was aware he had a thing for multiplayer, tactics and, apparently, role-playing experiences. A simple math kinda explains why he loved the darn thing, doesn't it? So, why on Earth did I come up with this question? To tease? Nah, it would be a cruel thing for me to do, knowing how much it's close to his heart. However, I couldn't find a perfectly reasonable explanation at that moment. Though, I knew I would. Eventually, I would...
For my friend, this wonderful view was (and always will be) an orgasmic eye candy.
[Three months later] I finally sat up to experience a game I was longing to play for a long time, Deadly Premonition. I was looking out for it ever since it was called Rainy Woods. Maybe because I adore Naomi Watts, I dunno. Jim Sterling's complimentary review only warmed my anticipation. And I knew I loved it from the first moments I've spent in. Somehow, I fancied everything about this irresistible beast: its clunkiness, surprisingly weird nature, annoying but utterly entrancing music. But that's also when I started questioning my love, “Why have I been enjoying it so much?” I knew that was a bad sign.
Me too, mate. Me too...
My journey to understand Deadly Premonition's charm ended nowhere. I loved the game for what it was. That's it. End of story. But I wasn't satisfied. The answer was found too easy, it certainly wasn't the one I expected. In the meantime, I experienced some frustration with my brother. He kept playing Guild Wars 2 all day long for a whole month straight. Guild Wars 2. I had nothing against the particular game. I heard it was great MMO, and my brother always adored RPGs. However, as he kept spending more and more time on the game alone, it was extremely hard to go through without any answers.
“Why do you spend so much time on this stuff?”, I asked him, craving for a reasonable explanation.
“Because that's how I like it,” I heard in response.
This sentence stuck with me like a sense of dampness on a rainy day. And then, the lightning stroke; I knew I heard it somewhere before! And I knew where. For a weird reason, I remembered DP (not that one). You know that messed-up type of thinking, when you hear “Sirat” and start imagining how great it would be to live in a world full of cybernetic, sociopathic, saber-wielding rats? (seriously, though, I had a dream about it once)
But seriously... You don't wanna know how this ended up here.
So, I started backtracking which games I genuinely adored before.
2012. Lollipop Chainsaw. 2011. Shadows of the Damned. 2010. Undead Nightmare. 2009. House of the Dead: Overkill. I went deeper. 2005. Resident Evil 4. Destroy All Humans! Stubbs the Zombie. 2004. Wait. Does it really matter? I know where this is going. I know I love games with b-movie feel to them. But when did it begin? There is always a beginning, isn't it? So, it does matter, after all...
Back to 2004. My brother is buying our second console, Playstation 2. The game that's coming with it, our first PS2 game, is Monster Attack. I played it. I adored it. I loved it.
I guess, I have no need to explain why it was so freaking awesome.
2000. I'm just a little kid, sneaking early morning to sweep the dust off my dear-old Mega Drive and have a good time. Ecco the Dolphin. General Chaos. Beyond Oasis. But there was one game I never touched that morning. The one game I was always putting deep inside my heart, but far, far away on the shelf. Zombies Ate My Neighbors. I played it with my brother through 30 levels or so. We both loved it, we both played the hell outta of it, we both never finished it.
Well, this one kinda speaks for itself, too. Right?
Nah, I wasn't afraid of the game. It sure was creepy, but campy at the same time. No, I was afraid to finally complete it. They say, love can be a blessing, as well as a curse. In my case, it was a bit of both. I finally found a source of my love. I got tired. I needed to distract myself, so I started developing thought I came up with earlier. What b-movie games could I have possibly missed? There sure were some. I started digging. Google. Wikipedia. Related links. It became my obsession.
Obsession... What an interesting word. We love to use it, when we couldn't find an explanation for our actions. So, I started my research. I searched for hours, days, weeks maybe. I squeezed every little bit of information I could find from different websites. I slept 4 hours a day. I rarely went to hang out with friends. I didn't need to sleep. I didn't need no strolls. I didn't need friends.
I wasn't even playing games at that time. It wasn't necessary. As time was flowing by, went a month since I began. I felt weaker, exhausted even. Soon enough, I reached a point of no return. I searched through everything twice at least, I saw the same games on the same lists, gathered information I didn't even need to know. Shadow Warrior was coming out soon. I knew I wanted to play it. I needed to play it. But I could't. It wasn't about games anymore. My obsession absorbed me.
That was me, basically. Miserably going through.
I finally forced myself to turn off the laptop. My eyes froze on Deadly Premonition's cover laying near. Suddenly, irresistible desire to play it came over me. I loaded the last save and spent some time just fooling around town. At some point, main hero said, “We are going to leave, but you're welcome to stay, if you need anything.” He didn't really try to pace me. But he did acknowledged that everything ends at some point. Somehow, this thought comforted me.
I embraced the fact that I didn't finish Zombies. I downloaded an emulator, then the game. It wasn't a tough find, after all. My brother saw me playing and joyfully jumped in. It was a delight to play. Like we are those same little fellas again. That bittersweet moment of reflection.
We never finished it, of course. But that didn't matter to me anymore. I had fun. Fun distracted me from my obsession. It made me realise how I turned my hobby into a crucial procedure. Fun cured me. I still like searching for “grindhouse games” sometimes. Though, not as compulsive as before. As I stay late at night, sometimes I keep recalling “b-movie games” I liked and imagining those I might have missed. All that, until I become tired and lose myself in a sweet feverish dream.
Because that's how I like it.