Hello, dear readers! I know that you are used to hearing my unique brand of... how shall I say it... commentary. As much as I enjoy it, AND I DO, it occurs to me that you all might enjoy hearing from someone else from time to time.
That is what our newest feature, "Outside The Bit" is for! Outside the Bit (OTB) is when we give a guest contributor the controller for 8BitVS, and let them loose on a game-related topic of their choosing. They will entertain, inform, and dazzle you so that you are fresh and ready for some bad photoshop, and informed opinions when I return! As they say, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder".
This week's contributor, Warza, is an old friend of mine, and an avid gamer. We met in New Zealand a long time ago, and found that we had a great deal in common in regards to our love of gaming. A prosperous friendship ensued. In my estimation, his insights are sharp, and his opinions, interesting.
Bet you didn't know that old BitNick lived a while in New Zealand, did you? See? OTB is bringing us all closer together already.
Give him a warm welcome, and let The 8-Bit Show begin!
Gaming in the Cold (War)
Last summer, for lack of anything better to do, I went on a gaming binge. I bounced from console to console with the giddy rapacity of a 3rd grade sugar fiend let loose in a candy store. I played my PC, I played my Xbox 360, and I even blew the dust off its venerable daddy, the original 'Box.
I dutifully waded through the staples of video game achievement. I shot and fragged. I completed objectives and beat missions, and of course, I earned points. And after I had played through a significant portion of my game collection, something hit me.
I had been playing: Battlefield: Bad Company 2, where a plucky American squad battles Russians all over the world for no other apparent reason than that they are bad. World in Conflict, a beautiful PC game wherein you call airstrikes in on Soviets who have invaded Seattle because they are bad. Freedom Fighters, a New York plumber organized a resistance to fight for freedom against bad, bad Soviets who have invaded New York.
Crysis and the newly released Homefront are two games in which you don't fight Russians. Instead, the Soviet's red boots have been filled by the North Koreans, who are rapidly becoming the new cut and paste baddies. I can think of one recent blockbuster release, EA's Medal of Honor reboot, in which you combat a non-apologetically non-socialist enemy ripped from today's headlines, the Taliban. Heard of it? Now, heard of it lately?
In short, if you are playing a modern shooter and fighting enemies from this planet, you are fighting commies.
So what makes them such great antagonists? The same thing that makes Starcraft such a joy: faction balancing. It turns out that the half century arms race that our country engaged in with the USSR is a great process for balancing armaments and weapon loadouts. The Soviets rivaled us, ruble for dollar to beat our tech, and we dumped copious amounts of our capitalist cash into R&D to beat theirs. We have the M-16, they have the AK-47. We have the M1A1 tank, they have the T-89. We: M2 troop carrier, They: BMP, and so on. You get the point. The diametric opposition is just beautiful.
In addition, communists make great villains because they are evil. I mean, twisted and freedom hating to the core, and just plain mean! In the world of video games the Reds are always invading and plotting and executing plans in which the goal is the total subjugation and destruction of the American way of life. All they want is to drive into America's heartland and pave over a baseball field to build a monument to the Party and the Proletariat, and maybe desecrate an apple pie or two. (Senator McCarthy warned us!)
|Soviets in Seattle? Something tells me they |
didn't just drop by for Starbucks.
I had my first inklings of this when playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2. There's an option to change the voices speaking actual Russian into the generic Russian accented voices we're all familiar with from the movies. And I refused. I like the Russian. I can still tell when the voices are warning me of a sniper, and it just sounds more... what? Rousing? Musical?
Oh, and don't get me started on the AK-47. It has actual wood in it. Those wood accents bring some character and charm to the firearm that the M-16 totally lacks.
|Cold and Metallic. |
Don't stick your tongue on it in winter.
|Ah, much nicer. Now, this is a piece you can curl up with next to a fire.|
|Comrades helping comrades... |
Does it get more neighborly than this?