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What We’re Playing – September 2nd

The weekend is upon us and it’s time to play some videogames. Here are a few games we’ve been playing away from the office this week. What’s on your agenda? Share what you’re playing!

Alan Wake
Oliver Banham
Coming fairly late to the party with this one, I was both excited and intrigued before I pressed play and started this interactive movie of sorts. I certainly wasn’t disappointed, as right from the beginning it felt like nothing I’d played before. From Wake’s narration to the slickly shot cut-scenes, this was a game where the story was as much an investment as the gameplay. Admittedly the narrative was lost on me a few times, with some slightly silly characters and ideas, but generally the storytelling is inventive and gripping, and expertly mixed in with the satisfying if ultimately repetitive nature of defeating shadows and vanquishing poltergeists. The game’s setting is stunning, too. If ever there was a case for more games to be set in the Pacific Northwest, this is it, as the green forests and serene lakes of the quaint town of Bright Falls are completely refreshing. While there are rumours of a sequel, I’d happily leave Alan Wake alone, and fondly remember this title as something new and interesting, with a story worth telling again and again.

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Richard Murphy
Representing a homosexual character in the predominantly bullish world of video games is a delicate process. You’d be hard pushed to find a subtle gay character in many of today’s titles. Developers usually plum for the corny, comic-relief camp-as-trousers queer; reinforcing old stereotypes that being gay is your one and only character trait. Rockstar approached Tony Prince as a mean spirited and eccentric businessman first and foremost. He is a man with issues both in the workplace and at home, a man who is defined by his personality and not by his sexuality. Being a Rockstar game all the characters are a grotesque and macabre representation of real world archetypes, but at least on occasion they can hop right over the stereotypical quagmires that other writers seem to be endlessly bogged down in.

… you can base jump too!

Infinity Blade
Anthony Karge
This is a gorgeous iPhone game that also plays magnificently. It’s like a medieval Punch-Out with swords instead of gloves. I could do without the endless grinding needed to be the ‘secret’ bosses, but all the frustration was satisfying. I played this one for hours and will be going in for more with the new game plus mode.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

Gentle persuasion

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