Posted on 23rd Mar 2010 at 10:44 by Joe Martin with 7 comments
Ah, Outlaws. I cruise a lot of gaming forums and I often see people expressing he opinion that developers should just go back and do hi-res remakes of old games. If I were going to make that wish then the game I’d want them to start with is Outlaws, because it sorely needs it. Other popular choices, like Deus Ex or Thief, are still perfectly playable today. Outlaws is not.
In fact, it never was. It always looked terrible, even back when it was released in 1997. Or, parts of it anyway – it’s never clear-cut with Outlaws. To clarify, the actual game looked worse than an angry mother in law, but the cutscenes were beautiful thanks to being hand-drawn.
Back then though, graphics didn’t matter that much and Outlaws had three very important things going for it. First, it was a cowboy game. Second, it was made by LucasArts back when they still made really good games. Thirdly, it was a cowboy game.
I really like cowboy games.
Posted on 23rd Mar 2009 at 14:03 by Joe Martin with 11 comments
Grim Fandango has three distinctions in my games library. Firstly, it’s one of my favourite games. Secondly, it’s one of the only 3D adventure games I really like (Escape from Monkey Island is a disgrace to the series, I reckon) and thirdly, it’s one of only a handful of games that I’d label as a romantic game.
Romance is, I think, something that isn’t explored enough in games – probably because of a weakness in the medium that doesn’t make it hugely capable of displaying that emotion. I can only think of a half-dozen games that actually deal with matters of the heart so openly and most of them are Leisure Suit Larry games! Despite it being a fairly small niche though, Grim Fandango stands head and shoulders above the masses as perhaps the most singularly romantic game I’ve ever played.
The story for the game is a masterpiece of noir fiction, set in a imaginative take on the Mexican afterlife and with players cast as unlikely hero, Manny Calvera, salesman for new souls. When somebody dies in the real world it’s Manny’s job to assess their soul and try to find them the quickest way to the true heaven. If someone has been good in their life then they can take a quick train through the afterlife straight to heaven. If they’ve been bad then they’ll be lucky if they’re even given a map, but it’s Manny’s job to help them as best he can.