I have been waiting for this. The business that pays my wages upgraded my desktop computer more than two weeks ago, with the result that spectacular gaming experiences awaited, and since then I haven’t had a single minute to actually do any gaming.
If you aren’t a big gamer, this is more serious than it sounds, because, in general, games do not wait around for ever. If you don’t play them, the technology for which they were designed eventually becomes obsolete and disappears and then you no longer have the option.
I love gaming and my biggest regret of my entire gaming life is not playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas when it came out in 2004. The graphics were sexy, the radio stations were topical and hilarious, and the breathtaking expanse of music covered everything that was being played on the American West Coast in the early 90s (which, as you know, was the golden age of hardcore hiphop). I saw Little G playing San Andreas several times on his Playstation and it was obvious to me how gorgeously designed it was. I particularly remember a moment when he had just crashed his car and was sitting on the side of the highway with smoke billowing from the engine, in the blistering, shimmering West Coast heat, while some absolutely luscious and smooth grooves played on the still-functioning radio. It was a perfect moment and I wish it had been my moment. I wish I hadn’t let it pass me by. It was my own fault. I have just learned that, because Jah is merciful, Rockstar has released a remastered version of San Andreas, ten years after the fact, and so I have one last chance to experience this important chapter of gaming history – providing I’m willing to buy an Xbox. So there you go. I am still waiting to find out how much my windows and roof are going to cost me. FFS.
Here’s what San Andreas looked like back in the day, the graphics were good at the time and the atmosphere and gameplay were incomparable:
This helpful video shows the original and remastered San Andreas graphics side by side. It does look great.
And now some music, because what is San Andreas without music. This is K-JAH West radio, with some heavy, heavy tunes, Jah know.
Grand Theft Auto 5 is out now and will be released for the PC in early 2015. Look at that. How fucking sexy is that.
Another game that I think I was an absolute fool to miss out on was Bioshock, the acclaimed first-person shooter, widely acknowledged as being right up there with GTA as one of the greatest games of all time. It originally came out in 2007 with a sequel in 2010 and I missed them both. Because this kind of thing hurts my soul and undermines my reasons for living, I’m now making a point of playing Bioshock Infinite, which was released in 2013, in fact that is what I am doing today. Yes, I am playing Bioshock today for the very first time and it is taking my breath away.
It is set simultaneously in the future and the past. On the one hand, it is an American town in 1912 where everyone wears 1912 fashions and has old-time religion – indeed the town is religiously obsessed, right now I’m walking around the town centre where there’s a fair on and half the sideshows and games involve 1912-style religious angst about false shepherds and casting out devils. On the other hand, it has to be somehow in the future because the buildings are floating. In fact, now I think of it, it is exactly like Terry Gilliam’s Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, a film that perfectly blends the past and the future with the active ingredient being surrealism. I haven’t got as far as needing to kill anything yet and I don’t care, I am perfecty happy exploring.
Stills from Dr Parnassus (2009):
Stills from Bioshock Infinite
Bioshock Infinite trailer:
And I think that’s all the detailed gaming discussion I have for you today, as I need to get back on the actual gaming before I run out of time. The further news in brief and note to self is that I urgently need to play Metro 2033 (2010) before that becomes obsolete as well, because my colleague says it is great, and I absolutely MUST play Dragon Age: Origins because it has been sitting here on my desk since 2009 and now Dragon Age: Inquisition is out already. You see my dilemma. I cannot play fast enough to keep up. It is a real problem.
Trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition. I have to play the whole entire prequel before this will even get on my to-play list.
Shocking. Added to which, I still haven’t finished Skyrim, I never had more than a cursory look at The Secret World and Warcraft’s Warlords of Draenor is coming out in a matter of days.
That’s why I have to go, as in right now. I am going to the shop for some cans of zero-calorie Red Bull and then you may not see me again for the rest of the weekend. I have to do some family stuff tomorrow which will take a chunk out of my day but it will be okay as I can go without sleep.