Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Wish List (6/24/09)

In the last few years, we've started to see some solid movie tie-in games with original stories, like Ghostbusters: The Video Game, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, and The Force Unleashed.  Each of these games feature some level of involvement from the original filmmakers or cast.  Ghostbusters might not be perfect, but it's a great starting point for a new era of tie-in games that deliver fan service without needing to rely on it to deliver an enjoyable experience.

Here's a list of ten games that could be remade or continued with the involvement of the original filmmakers and a solid game studio.

1) Escape from New York (Remake): Man, this one could be sweet - a sandbox shooter starring Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in the ruins of New York City. Most of the movie's characters would have to be recast - due to people's annoying habit of dying, especially the elderly - but hand this property over to Rockstar or Volition, keep John Carpenter involved, and you would have one heck of a game, full of a dark, sardonic humor and an almost infinite supply of badass.

2) Sean Connery in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Remake): Connery has already lent his voice to one Bond game, a remake of From Russia with Love. It was a fun but forgettable game - and Connery's age and lack of enthusiasm made for an odd performance. Still, I'd love for him to get a crack at a remake of OHMSS.

For those not familiar with that movie, it's one of the better Bond stories with the dubious honor of being the only Bond movie to star George Lazenby as the title character. To put it nicely, Lazenby isn't a great actor - though he did bring an atypical amount of earnestness to Bond, which actually helped the film.

The popular consensus is that substituting Connery for Lazenby would have made a better film. I don't agree with that, but it'd still be interesting to see what Connery would've done with the material.

A video game remake is the only optional now available to Bond fans.

3) They Live (Remake and Sequel): To be fair, I'm a huge fanboy of Carpenter's work in the 80's (there's one more Carpenter film coming on the list), but the satire found in this movie is as relevant today as it was during the Reagan era. And it's just a kickass movie.

Personally, I'd like to see the first half of a They Live game retell the movie's story, with the ending changed so that Roddy Piper and Keith David live, so the second half could be comprised of new material. This one lends itself to co-op more than most games on this list, which is a big bonus. But they'd have to keep Piper and David's wrestling scene in - and make it even longer than it was in the movie, if such a thing is possible.

4) Mark Hamill in a Star Wars game (Sequel): Seriously, why the hell hasn't this happened? The man makes his living off of voice work these days, Lucasrts is a prominent developer/publisher, and there's a wealth of expanded universe material that already exists featuring Luke Skywalker. Hand the reins of the franchise back to Raven Software, write a good story, and get Hamill involved. A game where you play as Luke Skywalker, with Mark Hamill back in the role...that would make some serious bank.

5) Tron (Sequel): True, there was a damn good Tron game, a sequel to the movie, released in 2003 - but who the hell wanted to play as Bruce Boxleitner's son? Get Jeff Bridges back, so we can play as Flynn.

Also, get Wendy Carlos back. I need new Tron music.

End of line.

6) Big Trouble in Little China (Sequel): Do I need to say more?

A rare game that would actually demand quick time events - because, baby, it's all in the reflexes.

7) Sigourney Weaver in an Aliens game (Sequel): Mrs. Weaver has already turned this one down, but I think there's potential here, if done right. First off, before anything else, hire a good writer. Or better yet, get Valve (an impossibility, I know) involved. Very few studios are better at telling interactive stories - and they could make one helluva story and game.

The Alien series should have ended with Aliens. But Alien 3 and Resurrection exist and neither film ended the franchise on a satisfactory note (to be fair, I dig Resurrection more than most). And don't even get me started on the AvP films. Could an Aliens game starring Weaver get the franchise back on track? I don't know.

But I do know that the franchise has been dicked around enough now that a little more dicking isn't going to hurt. There's nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

8) The Monster Squad (Sequel): Set it in the present day with the original characters as adults, hire the original actors, and keep that film's balance of wit and filth. Could be fun. Oh, and make sure there's an achievement for kicking Wolfman in the nards.

9) Firefly (Sequel) - Only if Joss Whedon or Tim Minear writes the script. As much as I love Serenity (I hold it on almost the same level as The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, and The Wrath of Khan), it was not a satisfying introduction or ending to the Firefly story.

I'd still prefer another movie over a game...but I'd play the hell out of a Firefly game.

10) Adam West and Burt Ward in a Batman game (Sequel/Remake): That's a weird one, I know. But there was no shortage of fisticuffs and cheesey dialog on that show, which would translate well to a game. Get someone funny to write the script, a decent developer to make the game, and recast the villains (all of whom I think are deceased) with some current comic performers (Patton Oswalt as Oswald Cobblepot), and this one could be a sleeper hit.

Adam West isn't getting any younger, people.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (The Wife Version)

Since the wife is constantly saying, "Jesus, you wrote this much about that?" Here's a small, easily digestible rant with her in mind.

The game mechanics are solid. Like the lightsaber in Jedi Knight II, the proton pack feels right. In its best moments, the jokes hit their mark and that not-quite-scary-but-damned-unsettling vibe of the first film is achieved. It rarely made me laugh, but there was a smile on my face for the whole game.

The game's too short, and the ending is sudden and unsatisfying. There's a little too much exploration and not enough busting of ghosts. The voice acting ranges drastically in quality - and not just from Bill Murray. Most of the jokes fall flat. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis are sorely missed - especially Weaver. It also offers very little re-playability, though the multiplayer will give you a few more hours of enjoyment.

Personally, I'd rent the console version or buy it for thirty bucks off of Steam - if you have the rig to run it. The PC version doesn't have the multiplayer component, but it's half the price. Give it a try. It's a big step forward in movie tie-in games.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Left 4 Dead 2 (A Matter of Prespective)

A very interesting, very different, and very persuasive take on Valve's decision to go with a full-priced sequel for Left 4 Dead. I don't know if I fully agree with it, but I'm going to hold off on my opinions until I've learned a little more about the sequel and how much - if any - support the original Left 4 Dead will receive.

Read it. Enjoy it. Ponder it.

End of line.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weekend Plans of the Nerd Kind (June 12th - June 14th)

A very frustrating, unproductive week. Only a few words dribbled out and in an order that entirely failed to please me. Took some notes on a new idea that popped into my head Tuesday morning. It's certainly the best joke/character bit I've come up with in my amateur career. The only problem with this new idea is that, once again, it's not just a story, but an entire world to build, which is not my strong suit.

Since combining words into sentences didn't turn out so hot this week, I decided to be productive with something I like to call Operation I Have Too Much Crap. By "Too Much Crap" I mean old electronics, VHS tapes, action figures, and books & comics.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, all this stuff resides in my office, resulting in some weird form of geek claustrophobia/overload. I'm currently taking a break from a battle with my inner pack-rat to write this. So far, I'm losing. Badly.

On an unrelated note, I'm thinking of making some business cards for myself that states this:

Jeremy Wickett
Writer. Gamer. Definer of Rad.

What do you think?

TV and MOVIES: Watched the first disc of the first season of Jeeves and Wooster this week. The fact that Hugh Laurie can do Bertie Wooster and Dr. Gregory House is simply amazing. It's obvious in these first few episodes that Fry and Laurie are settling into their characters, but there's some choice bits of British humor to be found in this series.

The first disc of Voyager: Season 2 came in the mail today. With this series, I am paying penitence for whatever nerd sins I've committed in my thirty years. I wish you could share my pain, people - but then you'd have to watch Voyager. And no one wants that.

Going through a lot of old movies while painting Mike's Warhammer Quest minis (more on that on Sunday.) Deciding between the Alien series or the Hellboy movies for an afternoon's paint. Right now, I'm leading towards the former.

GAMING: On a big Warhammer kick after purchasing The Battle for Skull Pass last week. I've completed about a dozen multiplayer matches of Dawn of War 2 this week, and I've batted about .500 for my online matches. That means I actually won a few games. This could well be a sign of the apocalypse, people. I wouldn't duck and cover just yet - but I'd start finding a good desk to do it under, all the same. I don't know if this means I'm starting to suck less at DoW 2 or if there actually are people out there who suck even more than me.

My addiction for this game is reaching almost Starcraft levels. It might soon be time for an intervention.

I'm also going through the single-player for the original Dawn of War, which runs great on my new laptop. It feels both crude and clunky to go back to that game's base building and resource micro-managing after DoW 2's streamlined multiplayer. But it's still a very solid game that holds up.

Lastly, I'm downloading the free 10-day trial of Warhammer Online. If WoW failed to grab me after its free trial, I doubt this game will do any better. But I wanted to give it a try.

BOOKS: Sadly, the Warhammer kick continues. Reading the 7th Edition rulebook. This is almost too much geek - even for me. Might pick up John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany again, after describing yesterday to a co-worker that Simon Birch, which they love, was an absolute raping of Irving's novel. It's one of my favorite books and a possible cure for all the mental junk food I've been devouring of late.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I don't know what happened in my pants after watching this video - but, by God, something happened.

Can we get whoever made this video to take over The Clone Wars TV show...or just give them a show of their own, preferably the latter?