Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gaijin Games, Death Wish, Taxi Driver, stuff

My adoration for Gaijin Games has been made clear before. Out of that last post grew a rapturous---and I hope interesting---review of Bit.Trip Flux, over at Slant Magazine.

"Like Dziga Vertov's films, Mondrian's paintings, or Balanchine's choreography, BIT.TRIP FLUX presents the spectacle of a medium reveling in its essential properties, offering an aesthetic experience that wasn't possible until the form was created to engender it."

And then that led to an interview with Gaijin Games CEO Alex Neuse, which is chock-full of interesting practical tidbits and the occasional matzoh ball of conceptualism.

"Usually games teach the player how the game world works and stick to it; like when I'm playing Halo, I know a Grunt isn't going to suddenly split into four slower moving Grunts. But BIT.TRIP is all about simple visual elements that could do anything, and a lot of the humor of the BIT.TRIP games comes from that kind of surprise attack."

Meantime, my tradition of arguing with Glenn Kenny (all in good fun!) continues, as we argue about Death Wish, argue about Scorsese, and occasionally argue about criticism and Lester Bangs.

"I'm quite happy to say that social responsibility is more a negative than a positive virtue. That is, no artist is obliged to deliver "a positive message", but you are indeed obliged not to be actively evil. Y'know as if you were a person---you don't actually have to do missionary work, but you should refrain from yelling "ching-chong-Chinaman" every time you see a Vietnamese person on the subway. "

And finally... I've been writing regular game reviews over at Slant, which has been great---writing something that feels lower-stakes than my usual creative output is incredibly effective as a confidence booster. And occasionally, I get to write something as fun as my review of Pokemon White.

"So how does someone old enough to have voted for Paul Tsongas end up playing the new Pokemon game?"

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