Monday, February 28, 2005

Maoist Videogame Reviews

This has been floating around the blogosphere for a while now, but given my tendency to write about both libertarian political/economic philosophy and videogames, I'd feel like I wasn't living up to expectations if I didn't mention it.

Needless to say, it's a good laugh.

Friday, February 04, 2005


Some funny games:
World's Smallest Game of Pac-Man
Little Fluffy Industries
"You know ... from up here ... you can't see the boundaries between nations," said Carrot, almost wistfully.
"Is that a problem?" said Leonard. "Possibly something could be done."
"Maybe huge, really huge buildings in lines, along the frontiers," said Rincewind. "Or... or very wide roads. You could paint them different colors to save confusion."
"Should aerial travel become widespread," said Leonard, "it would be a useful idea to grow forests in the shape of the name of the country, or of other areas of note."
(Terry Pratchett, The Last Hero)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I'm Confused

OK, one of the common themes in reviews of The Village was that it was some sort of political allegory, right? That this village, closing itself off from the rest of the world with vague stories of threats beyond its borders, presumably stood for post-9/11 America.

Now, in the Onion’s review of a Swedish movie called Daybreak, they say this:
In one [of the interweaving stories in the film], an overworked bricklayer with little time for his family agrees to work for an eccentric, wealthy older couple so terrified of the outside world that they ask him to brick up their windows and doors, essentially turning their apartment into a crypt. It doesn't seem at all coincidental that the eccentric husband—who is so terrified of the outside world that he'd rather commit himself and his wife to a slow, drawn-out suicide than engage it on any level—not only expresses admiration for the U.S., but even offers to pay the bricklayer in American currency. He even parrots the ultimate canard of the archetypal Ugly American (which he is in spirit, if not nationality), the belief that were it not for the U.S., they'd all be speaking German.

So, apparently, this is also being read as a political allegory about the U.S. closing itself off in fear from the rest of the world, right?

But how does this relate to actual U.S. foreign policy? I would expect a critical political allegory to portray its America-analogue as lashing out blindly and violently against those it fears, not as defensively drawing inward into itself to avoid confronting those it fears. Of all the things you could accuse GWB's America of, shrinking away from confrontation seems the least plausible. I get the feeling that most of the world would be a lot happier if America had retreated turtle-like into its shell.

Unless, of course, the political allegory in The Village and Daybreak is meant to be praising the U.S. for not shying away from confrontation. But that doesn't seem to be the way it's being interpreted, and I would find it difficult to believe that's what was intended.

Now That's Voice Talent

EA is making a video game adaptation of The Godfather. They've hired James Caan and Robert Duvall to do voice acting reprising their roles in the film. Not only that, but: "Shortly before his death last year, Marlon Brando recorded voice-over as crime elder Don Vito Corleone for the game."

Holy crap.

Of course, this also reminds me that once upon a time, Interplay was working on a Star Trek original-series game, Secret of Vulcan Fury, written by D. C. Fontana, which would have featured voice acting by the entire TOS cast, all of whom were still alive at the time. The game was cancelled, but I believe it was cancelled after the voice recording was completed, which means those recordings probably still exist somewhere in the vaults, should someone ever decide to resurrect the project...