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Above: If you're not grinning already, get thee to a Netflix
The genre: Whether it's college classics like Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds and Back to School, or outliers like Police Academy and Stripes, the college-movie formula is satisfyingly basic. A cadre of gross-out misfits and losers, forced into a punishing regime of educational drudgery, launch harebrained schemes to cheat on the test, see some boobies, and get one over on the jocks/stuck-up Chief/stuffed-shirt Dean. Hilarity Ensues™!
Above: College games could be better than this. Dare to dream
Why hasn't it been done? Two recent attempts at taking gamers to college met with varying degrees of success. Sierra's Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude did a fine job of dashing any immediate desire players might have for college craziness. Even Larry's creator, Al Lowe (who wasn’t involved Magna Cum Laude), promised fans the game would leave them “Severely disappointed.” Rockstar's Bully fared slightly better, mixing equal parts screwball American high-school comedy and grim British kids-are-bastards drama.
Above: Not exactly what we had in mind, but fun nonetheless
Should happen because: It's a formula ripe with potential for fun, variety and gratuitous titillation. But Bully, like the original Red Dead Revolver, didn't find its deserved success. Rockstar fans, primed by misleading promises from Jack Thompson and Peaceaholics, were disappointed that the game didn't turn out to be “San Andreas in high school” at all. Here's hoping another college-themed game – or even the rumored Bully 2 – might do for mortarboards and panty-raids what Read Dead Redemption did for horses and ten-gallon hats.
The genre: The “edutainment” label casts a long shadow: by trotting out terrible “games” aimed at edumacating the young folks while they play their Nintendo Space Invader machines, the industry achieved the impressive feat of convincing the geek populace that learning cool shit wasn't fun. So now games, which should be able to do great stuff with factual stories and events, only touch the real world when someone manages to sneak it in without telling anyone.
Above: Take off the nostalgia-goggles and admit this kind of sucked
Why hasn't it been done? Because the olds just don't get it, man. Indie-game designers have turned out several fascinating – and highly enjoyable – documentary videogames, such as JFK Reloaded and Super Columbine Massacre RPG. In both cases, everyone got the wrong idea and kicked up a stink, just as they did when Konami announced they'd be publishing a fact-based game about an actual battle in the Iraq war. So the game got pulled (despite our best efforts), and everyone went back to calling games mindless escapism.
Above: The Man doesn't think you can handle Six Days in Fallujah. Contact your local Man and register your disappointment!
Should happen because: There's a good reason there are so damnable many World War II games, and it's not just because Hitler's a dick. The original Medal of Honor titles – as well as series like Civilization and Total War – are examples of games made more enjoyable by their painstaking historical accuracy. So why stick to history? Pics from Zeitgeist to The King of Kong prove that there's a huge hunger for documentary fodder among the game-loving populace. Fast-track the next Six Days in Fallujah onto shelves and let gamers get they learn on.