When videogames go emo

The Prince

Seriously, what went wrong? The Prince used to be such a carefree chap. His first modern game was a stunningly vibrant piece, stuffed with bright colours and bloom lighting (when that trick was still cool) and all kinds of joyful flipping around. Cool, cocky, and more than a bit theatrical, the Prince was a fun hero for a fun game, and he seemed to be having a great time.

But then the sequel came along and the Prince took a sound thrashing to the face with the misery stick. Suddenly all the things that were fresh and exciting and made the first game stand out were gone. We had dark and gloomy environments. We had a mood of doom-laden oppression. The Prince stopped being a hero and plunged headlong into the black, black, non-more black waters of the self-serving anti-hero. (“A monster is chasing me! I haven’t slept in a year! Only Linkin Park understand me! You all suck! Scowl scowl scowl!”)

The game played well, but it wrapped that gameplay up in the same dreary, pseudo-mature trappings we’d already seen a million times before, and made the whole thing feel far more generic than its design deserved. Tragic, and not at all in the way that the mopey git likes to think makes him look cool.

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