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LONG BLOG

Quest for Blood: How Seeking Ultraviolence Showed Me the Best Side of Videogames

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Two violence-related articles in a row? Oh no! Well, at least this one's about nice things; I'll try and find something rainbow-sparkly for next week


Who cares about best-in-class worldbuilding when there're ZOMBIES TO KILL

The effort was a success, and I'd sent Dr. Breen crashing down the reactor within 48 hours. With no known homicides appearing in the following months, the hardest barrier was now shattered, and a pattern began to emerge: I'd comb through websites and old Game Informer issues looking for the cream-of-the-M-rated-crop, explain what made each game so great, and watch my collection slowly grow. Here's Deus Ex, in which the player is capable of and rewarded for not taking a single life, highlighting its open-ended and player-driven nature; this one's Bioshock, whose setting and characters are so instantly compelling and engrossing; check out Halo, which couples its breathtaking vistas with a fun, pulpy sci-fi plot; Grand Theft Auto IV isn't cool because you can shoot up prostitutes, but rather because a ludicrous amount of detail is poured into every square inch of architecture, meshing with unprecedented depth in procedural character behavior and a Tarantino-like flair in its wickedly sharp dialogue.

Almost completely unintentionally, I had attuned myself to what makes some of the medium's most beloved works so well-regarded and widely praised; it happened slowly, and, for a time, unconsciously, but my adolescent hard-on for extravagant violence had guided me, crotch-first, directly toward gaming's finest examples. Over several years, my faux-snobbery gradually morphed into honest-to-goodness for-real snobbery, slowly but surely molding my talents, interests, and personality to be thirty times more videogames than I'd have ever thought.

Would I have developed such an ardent and, at times, blind love for our little hobby had my upbringing been a little more lax on age restrictions? Would I still be churning out 1500-word articles about the subject if I'd been able to drill into dino heads in Turok 2 during my formative years? Probably. Would I care as much about its making? About what it can do as much as what it already does? Would I still want to tear apart and examine the nuts and bolts of nearly every game I buy? Probably not; so, for that, thanks, Mom and Dad. Your well-meaning overprotectiveness ended up failing in just the right way, driving me in however roundabout a manner to end up looking for and appreciating mature experiences in the sense of true maturity: not fountains of blood and geysers of curse words, but subtlety and nuance; depth and wit; scope, scale, and the willingness to push things farther and farther in the search for more compelling, meaningful, and plain-ol' fun experiences -- for real this time.
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About Altum Videturone of us since 11:44 PM on 11.04.2011

My earilest memory is of playing a PC port of Pac-Man on my dad's computer. My next earliest memory is of playing a PC port of Tetris on my mom's computer. I've been happily and hopelessly into video games and everything to do with them since, and while I have my favorites - pretty much the entire Metroid series (except, you know, that one) - there are very few good games I haven't played and enjoyed.

Now that I've been here for a few months I guess something else should go here, so: I've set upon myself a personal goal to write and post a blog at least once per week. Sometimes, meeting this deadline means that those articles are not up to the standards I would like, and I'll simply shove them away unpublished and try again next week. More rarely, they turn out great, and up they go. Even more rarely, I'll actually feel very satisfied and accomplished, and will get all excited for the loads of attention I won't be receiving. The following blog entries are ones that I believe fit into the latter category, preserved here in order of appearance for my (but quite possibly also your!) amusement and enrichement:

Battlefield 3: On Scale, Freedom, and Wookies
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - David Sarif
Bigger, Longer, also Harder - A Counter-Case for Longer Games
Location: Darkest Africa
How About a Mass Effect 3 Article with No Ending Controversy (Spoiler-free!)
Quest for Blood: How Seeking Ultraviolence Showed Me the Best Side of Videogames

Also, I mantain the monthly Cblog Analytics series, which tallies up a bunch of statistics and presents them in a simple and organized format. The results are always interesting and often surprising - all the math is done on my end, so no matter how number-phobic you might be, it's worth checking out! This year's entries are listed here:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August