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Community Discussion: Blog by Uncle Terror | Grindhouse 'n' Games, or "In Search of Fun Through Blood, Tits and Cheese"Destructoid
Grindhouse 'n' Games, or "In Search of Fun Through Blood, Tits and Cheese" - Destructoid




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About
Me? I'm just a simple fella, came here from the snowy pastures of Siberia with an appetite for wickedness. I've been stalking, er... investigating Dtoid for more than a year before deciding to officially join this wonderful community full of twisted perverts like myself. I sincerely hope we'll get along just well and have a bloody good time together.

Here is some freaky stuff I find interesting, as well as general facts about yours truly:



As long as I remember, mysteries have always been my grand obsession. I've been scooby-doing stuff all my childhood. I still do, kinda.



I always thought cats were bloodthirsty jerks. Each and every night, as I kept looking into my furry fiend's enormous eyeballs, filled with devious cuteness, I knew - this butt is up to something. I still love it, though.



I am "grindhouse fan".
'Duh!' - you exclaim after a quick look at my blog. But, seriously: finding some good grindhouse flicks sounds like Christmas to me. And I love Christmas. That's why I celebrate it almost every week. Well, this and the fact that where I live winter literally screws everything up and stays for three additional months.



I am sucker for entertainment.
Always was, always will be. I can't get enough of anything. Movies, games, cartoons, anime, tv shows, comics, literature, you name it! I love those things. Some more than others, of course, but in the end it made me a person I am today: open-minded friendly fella who likes having fun and always tries to find something good in every little thing. Or was it a creepy paranoid nerd with no social life whatsoever?.. Eh, whatever!

Anyway, here is some other stuff I adore. Hope you'll enjoy it, too.



















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     We could bite each other's butts off while arguing if «Games are Art and Last of Us/ Journey/    _ _ _ _ _ _ (insert game you like here) is their Messiah». However, in the wake of latter global whorification of gaming industry, resulted in swarms of generic shooters (c'mon, don't be shy, Quantum Theory), milking of once promising franchises (poor, poor Kevin Spacey) and other nasty things worth forgetting, why don't we focus on that little something we call FUN?

     Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun. Fun. How many times would I repeat 'fun'? Here. Fun. But seriously, fun is one distinctive beast. It could crawl inside anything in various forms, like some games are fun because they're so good, others are "so bad that they're good", and, of course, there are pearls "so good at trying to be bad, at the same time being so good that you lose yourself in existential onanism for the rest of you life". However, I am in no position to tell you what's good and what's not. Everyone should decide it for themselves. As well as I am not trying to uncover mystery of "hate out of ten" or "what's happening inside that head inside that mouth inside that head".

     Instead, let's take a look at “fun factor”. As a matter of fact, I am quite acquainted with such breed of video games where fun and self-awareness alone can make it a helluva satisfying experience, as well as enthusiastically bury game alive sixty feet under. Let's call 'em "grindhouse games".

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[It's History Time, folks! It's kinda important. Although, you could be a smarty-pants and skip it.]



     Originally, grindhouse was a name for movie theaters that mainly showed exploitation films. Lately, Rodriguez/Tarantino double-billed movie of the same name attracted a new wave of attention to the subject. Not so long after, many video game developers decided to join this twisted carnaval of perversion, bad taste, sex and gore. That's where House of the Dead: Overkill, Shadows of the Damned, Deadly Premonition and many others came in. Though, it would be wrong to think that there wasn't anything else like this before. No, B-movie blood stimulatively pulsates in video games since early 90's. There were inspired gems (like Day of the Tentacle), classic attractions (Blood, Shadow Warrior) and adorable cult crapfests (Phantasmagoria, Harvester) alike. Over the years b-movies' charm, irresistable stupidity and sincere honesty have found themselves in many projects, big and small (see Resident Evil, Wolfenstein, Destroy All Humans! and Suda51's joints). Even now (with recent Outlast, Shadow Warrior remake and upcoming Evil Within), they are still spreading and having a pretty good time overall. So let's wish them luck in their terrifying journey of getting into teenagers' minds, hearts and other legal places.

[History Lesson is over! You endured it, boys and girls! Drinks on me!]


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     After dealing with a bunch of introductory malarkey, we finally made it to the meat of the story. So, what makes good grindhouse game? Where lies that golden line between having genuine fun and acting plain stupid? In my humble opinion, there are six main ingredients, each one bringing something exceptional to serve up the experience. Let's discuss them individually.



        Heart
    
     Or soul. Or personality – whichever you prefer to call it, is a crucial element. Given its b-movie ethnics, games of this type are usually quite light on plot. In order to make them memorable, developers got to add that special something that keeps you immersed. Something that have natural sense of fun about it. York's in-car conversations in Deadly Premonition is one such thing. The moments like when he tells you his opinion on first two Superman movies (*spoilers* he does think they're better than first two Star Wars) and how he likes to hum Superman theme but it constantly transforms into Star Wars theme somewhere along the way, in these exact moments you forget that he is a game character. He becomes your friend. Deadly Premonition's plot in a nutshell is a schizophrenically bizzare story of friendship and retribution. And yet it doesn't look like a bloated mess, because it really doesn't try too hard to be in-your-face unique. It's natural.



        Humor
  
     Humor is a subjective thing, we all know that. However, "grindhouse games" as exercises in bad taste need to understand exactly how to handle their humor. It may be offensive, dumb and exhausting but never bland. No matter how utterly interesting characters look and/or sound, they would present quite depressive picture, if dialogues aren't charming enough. Just look at how joyfully dick jokes transcend into pure poetry in Shadow Warrior (and its remake's review for that matter) and how pathetic they look like in recent Yaiba. Why so? The main difference lies in how creators approach their subjects. If they try to calculate humor by throwing offensiveness in the air, it doesn't work. But if they are clearly having fun with it, you feel that, too. That's where your stupid, yet satysfyingly gleeful grin shows up.





        Appreciation of Unexpected
   
     In Lamberto Bava's cult horror flick “Demons” there is a scene, in which main heroes find out that they're trapped inside cinema's grand hall while fighting hordes of bloodthirsty, well, demons. Suddenly, ceiling is starting to crack and an empty helicopter tumbles right under our heroes' noses. I don't know if it's intentional or not, but their faces are kinda unimpressed with what they witnessed a mere moments ago (Helicopter? I hardly knew her!). Can't say the same about us.
     Videogames captures that so-called “wtf-factor” in its glorious entirety pretty good. From demon-crow boss screaming “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck Youuuuu!” of Shadows of the Damned to Deadly Premonition's ingenious coffee fortune-telling it all makes us wonder what crazy twisted perversions game developers' minds will come up with next. And I don't know about you, but that's fine in my book.
     Oh, and did I mention how those poor fellas managed to defend themselves while waiting for that utterly convenient rescue? No? Why, by slicing through every damn thing using display motorcycle and sword props, of course. Duh!



        Variety
    
     In gameplay, that is. You think I may sound crazy for a moment here, but I DO like all those minigames and sudden gameplay changes this type of games has to offer. Yes, at some point they're frustrating (like Lollipop Chainsaw's zombetball) and you may wonder why developers decided to include them in the first place. Of course, they could be better. Of course, they are mostly out of place. But they also add that sheer sense of individuality and uniqueness most games try to achieve but without doing enormously ambitious stuff. Seriously, what possibly could match the joy of beating police captain in the totally bonkers dance-off to the funky covers of “Mr. Sandman” and other 50's hits while playing as a brain-eating travelling salesman?



     Style
    
     Last years undoubtedly reassured people that graphics aren't everything. Success of indie darlings like Hotline Miami and The Binding of Isaac, as well as studio projects like Telltale's Walking Dead showed that people could enjoy good games without the pretty 10k picture and seven simultaneous Oculuses. As for "grindhouse games", they always carved their own way into our hearts. Most of them are projects of passion that pay homages to things most precious to their creators. That's why they have this strange, but somewhat familiar and lovingly crafted style. It's not just some artsy-fartsy stuff. It's people's beloved treasures projected onto the other stuff they love the most – videogames.



     Music
    
     As it's closely connected to the aforementioned homages, music in such games is often underrated. Most gamers think of it as an “assault on all senses” or “that cool guitar riff in the background”, as in reality, music adds quite a lot of depth to the overall experience. At important moments, it may be tender, mysterious, horrifying or just plain disgusting. It helps game underline the expressions it honestly wants to evoke in us, without screaming out loud. Just look at Shadow Warrior's finale. Game itself may look like an untamed beast hungry for bloody massacre as you slice through hundreds of enemies, but inside you may found sensitive puppy that only afraid of one thing – loneliness.
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     Whew! It sure was quite a ride, ain't it? As you can tell, I am a sucker for such games. Yes, I love them. Love them for their whimsical nature, simple, yet affectionately honest stories, their passionate tomfoolery and unadulterated sense of fun. Love them for staying true to their individuality and being broken and perfect at the same time. You may not feel about them the way I feel, but please, be thankful to them. For they deserve it.

     Thank you for reading thus far. Be well and love games.

     Also, fun. Or cocks. Or whatever.



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