I’m porky, a bit lazy and I have no real desire to break into a sweat – unless there’s a pint at stake. I hate pointless exercise and I see no reason to dash around when I can merrily shuffle about my everyday business at a gentlemanly pace. My life is pretty damned slow. And that’s how I like it. Ram a joypad in my claws, though and things are different. Games are about escaping, you see, about upping the tempo and being thrilled. They are categorically not about hiding in a military facility with a cardboard box on your head. Nor should they be about plotting an agonizing route around six guards, only to be forced to restart your mission because you accidentally pressed the ‘fire a deafening shot’ button while reaching for your mug of tea. Stealth is boring. Stealth is worse than walking – it’s walking very, very slowly. Stealth may mirror the reality of a one-man insurgency into a super villain’s killing factory, but who the hell wants reality when games can give us hyper-reality, life writ large and punctuated with bowel-loosening explosions?
I like my games with balls, and sneaking around just isn’t ballsy. It’s not that I’m dumb or macho, it’s just I play games to do the stuff I can’t do in real life. Faced with a network of barracks peopled by ruthless mercs I would cower in the corner like a timid hedgehog on bonfire night. In Gameland I only want to pause to reload my grenade launcher before turning my foes into exploding Pepperami sticks. I’m not into mindless violence either – there’s nothing more annoying in a game than ‘randomly’ placed exploding barrels positioned so you can blow a wall up and slack-jawed idiots can punch the air. Exploding barrels are unforgivably lazy devices and a relic of a more simplistic age. Which brings me onto another gripe – retro games. Or, to be more precise, people who hold up retro games as windows on a golden era of gaming purity. What pap. I’ll explain my theory.
Artist Picasso’s work is timeless because many painters still use the same brushes and pigment today old Pablo did way back when. In other words the medium hasn’t really changed. In gaming there has been a profound shift in the technology which renders old, clunky games about as exciting as Bonekickers. And that goes for pretty much any game of a certain age. Even a masterpiece such as, say, Sensible Soccer, should have been buried long ago. Why keep reanimating the rotting corpse of a game that looks pathetic next to Pro Evo and FIFA? All that does is spoil my fond memories of what was once a work of genius. Go on, play Missile Command, or Paperboy. I bet you in five minutes you’ll have swapped discs. Even the most average PS3 game knocks retro nonsense into a pixilated hat.
Lee is a freelance games writer.