A long time ago I bought Postal 2 from the Steam Store, and it is only recently – in the wake of my Playstation 3 breaking – that I got an opportunity to sit down and play it. For the scarce few out there who don’t know what Postal is, it’s hands down one of the most awful games ever created – which is the point. You play as the Postal Dude. He’s an everyday sunglasses-indoors-wearing, douche-bag-beard-growing sociopath. He’s the stereotypical Call of Duty player, and his actions in the Postal series aren’t dissimilar to those undertaken by Grand Theft Auto protagonists.
This generation I’ve had the pleasure of both the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and the Wii. At launch, I was gifted my Xbox 360 as a Christmas present with copies of Halo 3, Assassin’s Creed 1 and Viva Piñata, and then bought my Playstation 3 in a boxing day sale a few years after. I feel it’s only fitting with the next generation suddenly upon us that I do the inevitable categorisation of my favourite current-gen games from the past few years.
It’s just past Hand-in Month now. Everyone’s essays have been filed away under the categories of ‘Queer Theory,’ ‘Racism,’ ‘Socio-economics,’ ‘Advertising,’ and much, much more. Trees will have been cut down for the hallowed citations, references and bibliographies which prevent students from getting kicked out of university and forced to find a real job, and we’re all just twiddling our thumbs until we get them back now.
But the source of our references, our background research, is extremely interesting.
Enough about sexism in video games; that debate is swamping the industry left, right and centre. The real debate – or at least, the one we should be having – is why there is such a lack of homosexual protagonists in video games. In fact – there aren’t any.
[Warning: Possible Spoilers]
Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag comes out in the UK in just under a month now. I’m going to be honest with you though, I’m not so totally psyched about it like everyone else seems to be. After the broken, counterproductive mess which was Assassin’s Creed 3, even the superb ship mechanics which are being carried over will be overdone to the point of being repetitive in AC numero quatro.
[Warning: Possible Spoilers Ahead]
So, GTA, we meet again.
The controversy surrounding its launch seems to have died down at last, leaving space for some discussion about the game which doesn’t revolve around 18+ video game violence warping the brains of children. Like how, for all its merits, there were some serious problems with the characterisation of its three main protagonists, and an ending which was unsatisfying to say the least. The absolute least.
Despite what you may think of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls creator, David Cage, there’s no denying that he has blurred the lines between a video game and an interactive movie. Whether or not the direction he has taken is for the best is a discussion for another time, but it does raise the question: if video games can be made to feel like cinematic experiences, why can they not be made to feel like musical ones too?
The QMU Publications Committee, in their infinite wisdom, have granted me several hundred words to write on all things musical, that is all the things I can think of. I’ll try to write about recent gigs, upcoming gigs you simply cannot miss, new music from both well-known bands and relatively unknown ones and whatever else comes in between all of that.
I’ll get the ball rolling with a gig I went to not so long ago. The headlining band was Wild Flag, an all-female four piece from the US west coast. Their eponymous debut album was released way back in September and they’ve recently been touring some small venues across the UK. Most importantly they came to Glasgow to play the Oran Mor, which I’d never been to for a gig before. As a venue it’s somewhere above King Tut’s and (for space at least) way above Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, which means the tickets are a bit more expensive. The gig was definitely worth the price (and the fact I didn’t need to get into the city centre to see it). From the moment the band came on, they gave everything they had into the show. For a 41 year old, vocalist/guitarist Mary Timony gave one hell of an athletic performance. At one point she was on her back, moving around the stage, whilst killing it on guitar. The entire band had some serious skill when it came to playing their instruments and they were enjoying it more than the audience, they even took pictures of us at the end to remember the gig, which isn’t something bands usually do. Seeing as this is online I can chuck some links in for you to check out the bands I’m chatting about, so there you go.
For my next trick, I’ll tell you about Plumb, not the fruit because that would be boring and frankly quite irrelevant to everything else I’m writing, but the new album from Field Music. I’ll try and make this my only plant-related pun, but Plumb really has its roots in good old prog rock. If you like Yes then you will love this album. It doesn’t sound directly like Yes otherwise I might just tell you to listen to Fragile or another of their albums; it’s like 70s prog with a 2012 twist, like coke with lemon. Good like the original, but better. If you don’t believe me, those nice folks over at NPR have made the entire album free to stream here.