Monday, October 20, 2014

Strung Up From The Sky

I've finally earned my "Bait" trophy for 'Alien: Isolation'. If you've done it as well, you must know the joy and moreso relief that comes with it. Well earned, and I'm already ready to have another go at it. I'm not finished with the game, maybe 3/4 of the way, but in a way the experience feels complete. I did it yesterday and today all I could think about was how great of an experience this game has been. Video games rarely get recognized as an art form and it's no one's fault but video game developers and studios. Very few devs and studios are good enough at their craft and put enough thought and TLC into their projects to warrant much respect.

For example: Let's say every year 150 video games are released. Of the 150, only 25 will be considered by critics and consumers as good and worth revisiting upon completion. Of those 25, MAYBE 2 or 3 will be considered art and will become timeless. Again, this is just an example and not to be taken as fact. Art, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. And in my mind's eye 'Alien: Isolation' is one of the handful of games that we nerds can throw back at naysayers when they say "Video games can never be art". Yes, there is no moral lesson to be taken from it. You will have no better appreciation for politics or care about the homeless or give to charity anymore than you do now once you've played it, but it will most likely resonate with you on an emotional level or some primordial instinct and make you say: "Wow.".

It's not the jump scares that make this game what it is. There is nothing in this game you've not seen in movies or other games. But it's the way everything around the scares is handled that sets it apart. The music, the atmosphere, the anticipation. Much like a great musician knows when to stop showing off and just grove, so do great developers. You find that groove, get people locked into it, then you change the pace without warning and let the people experience.

I'm sure I've said this before, and will probably say it again sometime. And who knows? Maybe 'Isolation' fizzles out in a years time. Maybe Creative Assembly will lose their blessing from the "Gaming God" and never put out an enjoyable or quality game again. But for right now, 'Alien: Isolation' should be on every gamer's Top 5 list, and it should definitely earn a place in the medium's history in the category of "The One's That Broke The Mold".

And it's available for Virtual Reality as well...

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