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Live Blogs Let's Watch: Select Episodes of Cinematech (The Original Series)
BearyScary2014-03-02 04:14:18

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I Ain't Afraid of No Interactive Drama

Cinematech Episode 238: “Who's Afraid of Interactive Drama?”

A Shout-Out to the title of the movie Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, referring to the self-described “interactive drama” game Façade.

Timecode: 0:08: Clips from Luigi's Mansion, a Nintendo GameCube launch title. In this game, via a contest he never entered, Luigi wins a spooky mansion filled with ghosts! But Professor E. Gadd gives Luigi the Poltergust 3000, a vacuum cleaner that can suck ghosts up.

LM wasn't a new Mario game at launch, but it wasn't that bad. The mansion was actually kind of spooky.

1:49: You've played The Elder Scrolls series, but did you ever play them... on the Nokia N-Gage?! The N-Gage was Nokia's oft-mocked attempt at a handheld system. It had questionable design; to change games, you had to remove the system's battery! It tried to have 3D games, but the system wasn't very powerful, resulting in the bad draw distances that this The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey game had. It could be handwaved away as poor visibility in dungeons, but in the daylight, in villages, it just looks like everything disappears into a blue fog.

Here is a critical review of the game]] and here is the game's page on The Elder Scrolls wiki.

Compared to the smash success of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, there are a few really obscure TES games, such as Redguard. Kinda fun to learn about, like the series' dirty little secrets.

3:02: “You are cordially invited to Grace and Tripp's for an evening of fun and games.” It's Procedrual Arts' Façade, the first-person interactive drama game where you assume the role of one of Tripp and Grace's old friends. Tripp and Grace are a couple whose relationship has some serious cracks that reveal themselves over the course of the evening. You, as the friend, can try to help them resolve their issues, or just mess around and Troll the game, testing the limits of Tripp and Grace's reactions.

Cinematech showed a few of the scenarios that they played through. First up: Diana and her Les Yay with Grace. Diana kisses both Tripp and Grace, and then calls her pretty. Grace coyly says, “If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were flirting with me.” Diana says, “maybe I was”, and Grace just stares blankly at her. Diana says, “like your haircut”, and the couple accepts the compliment, but Grace clears her throat awkwardly. Tripp reminisces about how Diana was the one who introduced him and Grace to each other 10 years ago in senior year of college, and Diana says, “what was I thinking”. Diana later blurts out, “i'm crazy” and says, “let's go to the bedroom”. They didn't show the couple's reaction, unfortunately. When the couple starts arguing, Diana kisses Grace and Tripp begs her to stop the flirting. Grace starts to complain, “Sex, sex, sex,” and Diana repeats her, kisses her one more time, and then Tripp tells her to leave. “We've had enough. You've gotta go.”

5:29: Clips from the competitive multiplayer mode “Mercs vs. Spies” in '''Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow”. In this mode, spies played from third person view, while mercs played from a first person view.

9:01: Clips from Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis, developed by Lucky Chicken Games and published by TDK “Mediactive”. Yes, the people who make DVD recording discs apparently made video games for about five minutes back in 2003. This was a game for the Nintendo GameCube; boy, the Cube saw some stinkers in that year. Another one was the Charlie's Angels game, which has kind of a funny story behind it: Sony rejected the game for the PS2, but Nintendo accepted it for the Cube! Then again, Sony and Microsoft both accepted The Guy Game for their consoles, so I'd say the foolishness is more than equally distributed in these cases.

Anyway, Aquaman: BfA just looks boring. It may be a case of a bad game that still has the audacity to function, which was one of Angry Joe's complaints about Ride to Hell: Retribution. In other words, Aquaman: BfA is far from OUTRAGEOUS!

9:40: “Who's Afraid of Judy Bloom?” In this scenario, the guest, Ryan, hugs both Tripp and Grace, and they only say, “Oh! You're... hugging me,” as if they never get hugs from friends or something. Ryan winds up telling Tripp to “shut up” and Grace reprimands him, “That's awful! Where did that come from?” They wind up throwing him out.

12:03: Clips from the N-Gage port of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Oof, that frame rate. Ow, those compressed audio clips from the console version. Electronic Gaming Monthly, one of the N-Gage's earliest and most vocal critics, had a funny review of this port. One reviewer said that the only fun he had with the game was when he accidentally shot his co-op partner in the butt.

12:53: Seemingly to rub it in the face of the N-Gage Splinter Cell, it's the climactic ending of Metal Gear Solid. There were actually two endings in this game that determined who Solid Snake escaped from Shadow Moses Island with: socially awkward scientist Hal “Otacon” Emmerich or inexperienced soldier Meryl Silverburgh. In this case, it was with Otacon.

In the sequence, Snake and Otacon tried to flee down a tunnel while Snake fended off his “brother”, Liquid Snake, with a turret mounted on the jeep. Pretty cool. Otacon and Snake escaped the tunnel but overturned their jeep and got pinned beneath the vehicle. Liquid also wrecked his jeep but was not pinned, allowing him to threaten the duo with an assault rifle.

Liquid: SNAAAAAKE! Snake...

Liquid aimed the gun at Snake, only to collapse suddenly.

Liquid: Fox...
Snake: ...DIE.

Yes, Liquid was taken out by the FoxDIE virus just then. Before he died, he reached out to Snake. What was kind of cool was how they actually separated his thumb and index finger from the rest of his hand to better portray his reaching out to his "brother". That was back when most game characters had blocks for fists, mind, so they did that especially for that scene.

15:08: “Monkey Nipples”. Things get awkward fast when Warren blasts past Tripp and Grace, starts to rearrange their stuff, and tells them, “get a divorce”, “Failed marriage”, “and you guys are ugly”. That was the final straw. Tripp throws him out.

17:55: Clips from The Typing of the Dead, an unusual spinoff of The House of the Dead franchise. I'd play it because it lets you practice your typing while killing zombies. It's a win-win!

18:42: A very brief clip from a graphic adventure game called Sanitarium. It shows some guy beating his head against a wall over and over again.

18:46: Adventures at the Chateau d'Or, an adventure game with FMV sequences. In this game with a premise worthy of a Professor Layton title, a young French woman receives the title to her uncle, a duke's, palace. She decides to investigate the palace because she recalls a strange discovery that he shared with her and her mother: the “sensory focal devices” which allow one to see any event in time or space. A likely story.

20:54: A closing clip from Facade where the guest picks up a strangely Fruedian sculpture and tells Tripp to use it.


Jon Tron's reviews of Aquaman: BfA and the CA game

PC Gamer Saturday Crapshoot: The Lost Elder Scrolls Games

brutalmoose's review of Facade

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