This article originally started out as “this is how the first one looked and this is how it looks now!” Basically a bunch of pictures showing how far, graphically, we’ve come. I think gaming is in a weirder place than it has ever been over the last few years. It’s more mature than it use to be, it’s quite a bit smart than it use to be. I believe gaming is at a point where we can say that different genres warrant different speculation just like movies do. I’m not going to play Max Payne for the humor that a game like Shadows of the Damned may have. I’m playing different games for different types of entertainment. With all this said, I think the whole debate about games being art is kind of lost and when it is brought up, ignorant. Movies are art, even if it’s a horrible film it’s still art. Even if it’s a horrible game, it’s still art.
So here it is.
Max Payne 1 grows up to become Max Payne 3
As close as people hold Max Payne 1 and 2 to their chests, I think it’s sort of obvious that Max Payne 3 is the best of the series. Story alone, Max Payne 3 really puts everything into perspective. Max is an addict. Max is an alcoholic. In a weird way, Max Payne 3 shed some light on how bad a self destructive person can be, even if they start trying to do the right thing we see that it will take time and extreme effort. I believe that Max Payne 3 is the strongest showcase of what video games can pull off in terms of story telling, amongst many other things.
Halo – Halo 4
In a lesser way, Halo is a great franchise to look at. Ever seen a movie and loved it but then later find out some new director is picking up the series? (Star Trek)
After the huge success of Halo 3, two games and a falling out between companies later, Halo 4 is handed off to 343. Most, including myself, were highly skeptical of the series becoming a heaping pile of garbage. Maybe it’s because more often than not when games are handed off from one company to another they become terrible wastes of resources. (see Duke Nukem Forever)
Then Halo 4 came out and fans of the series rejoiced for the most part. Now, with a new microsoft system out, 343 begins another test of gamers faith by announcing HALO(5?) for XBOX ONE.
Kane and Lynch 2
One of my favorite games of all time. Spoilers ahead.
In Kane and Lynch 2 I believe gamers saw something beyond the norm when it comes to Mature Content. Most games that receive an M rating have extreme gore, or language or nudity, Kane and Lynch 2 has that and while this game was not showing off blood like in Gears of War it was showing a Mature rating similar to Max Payne 3′s reasons. Two arms dealers further ruining their lack of normal lives as they continue criminal activity. This breaks out into an all out war between the two and Shanghai mobsters. We at one point see the two being tortured nude while strapped to chairs by a man with a box cutter who has raped and killed Lynch’s wife Xui. Lynch is left to die later in a dumpster but manages to get back into the room where the man continues to torture Kane, but Lynch kills that man. The two immediately begin racing across the streets of Shanghai, still nude, while fighting off mob enemies. This ends with a highly uncomfortable but much needed “hashing out” between the two characters.
This segment of the game really broke me. Prior to this game I hadn’t taken many stories within the video game universe that serious. Seeing this brings along a weird sense of discomfort but also a “need” to continue on. Kane and Lynch 2 was not the first game to bring about this level of mature content in video games and certainly won’t be the last, but it should be brought up occasionally. I long for a Kane and Lynch 3. I even wrote out a wish list that I will type up and post here eventually. I truly believe that if we had more games bring on this incredible and somewhat overwhelming presentation of realistic content, the debate for “but is it art?!?!” would cease to exist.
Wylie Dean Tilson