Throughout my life, I haven’t been the best at rhythm games. I’m able to make a pretty good run at them when I’m in the right frame of mind but even then, my reactions to the on-screen prompts can be a bit off. Which, considering one of my favourite games of all time (The Binding of Isaac) has the potential to train lightning-fast reflexes into you, is a bit odd.
Nonetheless, given a flash sale and some Steam Wallet funds laying around – Thanks Joel – I decided to pick up a game that had caught my eye on visuals alone: Melody’s Escape.
I find it alarmingly easy to say that the end of the Super-Hero film craze is getting close, but that’s not to say that the genre dies with the trend, much like any genre it must evolve, grow, and integrate itself into other genres.
A quick run down on what one might loosely define as the “super hero” genre, although really it’s just a typical family adventure film with super heroes as the subject, one might similarly define Monsters Inc. as a horror film because there are monsters; all you require is a hero and a villain, pitch them against one another in a narrative that tells us a story of hope, and of self reliance, some kind of positive take away to which the villain is usually the antithesis. Iron Man tells us stories of taking responsibility for one’s own actions; Batman is an exploration of sanity from various angles; and X-Men is about accepting diversity; you get the idea. Toy Story 3 is only a short step away from being a super hero film is what I’m trying to say here.
So who’s seen the trailer for the New Mutants?
Now that you’ve seen that, did you also watch Legion? The FX series attempted to follow the broken narrative of a mutant with incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers and one very serious mental disorder. The first episode was a masterpiece of horror when we witness what happens when an unstable mind is given incredible power, spoilers the ward the mutant in question is in is reshaped violently, and a human being is fused with a wall that was once a door end spoilers and after that it’s eight episodes of questioning the truth 12 Monkey’s style, complete with a demonic haunting.
It was well received, a refreshing take on the X-Men franchise, and an exploration into the possibilities of the mutant narrative that one can’t usually delve into in other properties, let’s not forget that mutants are born with their powers, never ask for them, and often never have anyone to show them how to properly use them* and so are often a danger to themselves as well as others. Enter “The New Mutants”.
That line about baby rattlesnakes being more dangerous is so wonderfully apt, except that in this case we have adolescent children and teenagers who contain the power to tear down nations if they put their mind to it, and the world simply does not know how to handle it, so they shove them into a holding pen turned creche. We’re left with some substantial questions about what the nature of the horror in New Mutants might be, but it looks strongly like the fear may simply be out of control mutants who are simply unable to control their abilities. Legion proved the concept, but it’s not the only intellectual property lately that proves that X-Men can cross genres.
Logan I have heard described as a modern western (I still haven’t seen it, but I look into these things thoroughly), and it makes no attempt to hide its inspirations, flaunting the film Shane throughout to remind us exactly where it has drawn its idea. It was an answer to the fatigue of the “super hero genre” and it worked, and if I weren’t so fatigued at Wolverine as a whole I might have watched it by now, but there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that someone, somewhere in the market is listening to the consumer.
It’s not new of course, we’ve seen super heroes blending genres for a long time now, comedy, science fiction, the neo noir stylings of the Defenders and Batman, but to my memory I have not seen a super hero project marketed as anything other than just that? The trailers tend to make a big deal out of the spectacle and the drama, where the New Mutants is clearly and unapologetically playing to every horror archetype.
I love the cast. Anya Taylor-Joy has already proven her horror chops, she’ll make an excellent Magik, Maisie Williams has some experience playing a wolf-child, and Charlie Heaton is just great in Stranger Things. Let us hope that it can lay roots for comics to stay in the cinema for generations to come without fear of losing originality for some time to come.
*Which is why I’m anti-registration by the way. If a baby is born with a gun taped to it’s hand do you arrest it for illegal possession of a firearm? I like you Stark, but screw you and your Registration Act/Sokovia Accords.
The Point and Click Adventure genre leans a little too heavily on one very simple puzzle which I’ll refer to here as the Lock & Key: finding Thing A and applying to Thing B in order to proceed.
To be clear, things A and B can be a wide variety of things, a ladder and a wall, a photograph and a person, an ostrich and a sandwich toaster, or an actual key that corresponds to an actual lock. We can all thing of a few dozen examples, if pressed we could probably come up with that many from the same title. Grim Fandango, Machinarium, the Discworld game series, to an extent one could argue The Room, all make heavy use of this basic set up. Why?
Well, ignoring for a moment the fact that it is very simple and easy to put together in game, from a game design perspective it’s no bad thing either. It’s an un-failable task, you can’t get it wrong, you can only keep trying. It’s an obstacle to be overcome, to face the next obstacle, and the next one, and the next one. Occasionally you’ll see something different, I’d just like to offer a few suggestions of how we can shake up the genre.
It felt like only a few weeks between Pokemon Go being released and cries for practically every other major intellectual property to get the “Go” treatment. The first I heard of was Harry Potter, and I’m prepared to admit I’m not entirely sure how that would work, but there’s plenty of content there to work with and plenty of other fairly successful games out there to base content on. I’ve heard that it might derive from the new film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which rather suggests that it’s going to be a near-complete clone.
I started last week by calling Go a work which could become a genre in itself, and I’m apparently not alone. For a long time my Facebook feed was plastered with ideas for other Go games like Skyrim or Dungeons & Dragons (yes, my Facebook feed is just that predictable) and as I may have mentioned, Extra Credits also addressed the subject. Well I already decided to write this before they published the video, and I’m not sure I like their model so much. Let me explain: (more…)
If you’ve ever been fascinated about the wildly popular theme that is Steampunk, then this is a quick look at what Steampunk is and isn’t, as well as all the do’s and don’ts of the fandom. Join Timlah as we delve deeply into the fascinating world of Steampunk, an old bygone era mixed with modern day technologies and theories. It’s truly a wonderful, bizarre world, so be prepared to hold onto your bowler hats!
I’ll start that again.
By and large we’re more normal than we’d care to admit, just as prone to the same habits as those we’d refer to as “normal people”, just as susceptible to hype and we still tend to spawn a cycle of trends. It may not be clothing or music trends as such, but there is one field in which we dominate the culture… or maybe the field impacts us more deeply than others?
Couldn’t say, cause and effect is a bit fuzzy here. Here’s a retrospective on genres in film and television. (more…)
As with starting a D&D campaign, I have to start with the broader picture, the genre and the world. They inform the characters, the story, the very tone of the writing. They can give us a base upon which to build detail, and out of an organic world living characters can arise to face real situations that practically write themselves.
My previous attempts were in a future earth with a strong super-power cyberpunk theme, so I am going to attempt to avoid that altogether. Here instead are some genre blends I think I could write, along with some ideas for stories that you’ll get the chance to vote for later in the month. Vote below for your favourite. (more…)
In this weeks’ GeekOut Podcast, we discuss rules within games and genres. As is seemingly becoming the norm for us, we managed to go so far off subject, we ended up in the realms of achievements and more.
We’re hoping to keep the podcasts to a consistent biweekly basis from here on in, so the next episode of the GeekOut Podcast should hopefully be on Sunday 11th October! If we can manage more, we’ll do more too! We’re also going to move our audio away from Soundcloud, as we cannot afford the hosting plans. We’re likely going to create some spiffy graphics and upload all of our audio to YouTube, but if you have any better ideas for hosting podcasts, please let us know!
Podcasts aren’t all we’re doing now. Did you know that Timlah has finally gone ahead and recorded his first ever Lets Play episode? He’s playing the Dungeon Crawling classic, Stonekeep, a classic game that both of the GeekOut guys are hugely fond of. It’ll go live on Wednesday along with a post, so keep your eyes peeled for that and let him know how good (or bad) he is!
Over to you: What genres do you know that have strict rules and what genres could you not play if they didn’t adhere to their rules? Hey, do you want to get involved with the GeekOut Podcast and just chat nonsense with Joel and Timlah? Let us know in the comments below, over on Facebook and Twitter, or shoot us an email.
As any good series should do, this week’s DMing 101 will be a Hallowe’en special, and a preview for a set of genre-specific guides on how to give your games specific themes and atmospheres. Before the new series begins, here’s a look at one of the hardest genres to do properly: Horror. (more…)