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Critical Discussion

Deception and Dehumanization in Far Cry 3

Having taken longer than most people probably have to finish Far Cry 3, I find that I had expected more to have been written about it and interpreting it. Perhaps too many words have already been expended upon Spec Ops: The Line, which shares some characteristics with Far Cry 3 to be sure, but is in my view a wholly different experience.

Where The Line was itself a critique and condemnation of the contemporary shooter genre and the acts that constitute such a game (and something about which I still need to write), Far Cry 3 is something more. It serves not so much as a direct critique of the first-person shooter, but more as a framework for the player to start thinking critically.

I find that much I have read regarding Far Cry 3 is mired in direct conversation regarding the whats and the hows of the game and its systems, and less about the whys. Indeed, as I started playing the game, I too found myself dwelling on questions of design and mechanics and less about what those things did to inform the story—and more importantly, the message—of the game.

I know now this is the wrong way to approach Far Cry 3. Indeed, now that I have reached the end and applied some critical thinking to what I witnessed and did, I find that I second-guess any such criticisms I had as I’m no longer sure what of those are honest mistakes and what are things that were done intentionally in order to provoke such a response.

N.B.: Here be spoilers. What follows will also more than likely be extremely pretentious, as I can’t stop talking about it. If you have reactions or discussion points, I invite you to leave a comment, or more so to write about it on your own blog.

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Out of Sorts on the Boring Side of the Line

Honestly, I dont even remember which game was being demoed — Medal of Honor? Black Ops? All the shooters I saw at this weeks conferences kind of blurred together for me in a stream of non-stop explosions and guns and “ripped from the headlines” power fantasies… and my rigid E3 schedule and general lack of sleep certainly didnt help. I think it was the former, but I suppose that doesnt matter so much as what I do remember… namely, the sensation that the games industry has forgotten how to communicate by any means other than screaming at the top of its lungs about the awesomeness of lovingly rendered gore.

Read the whole thing. This is an all-too-often unspoken-about problem in games today.

At a time when some stand-out games are finding ways to transcend the previous limits of the medium and tell compelling stories, other developers are creating games that glorify violence to the abandonment of storytelling.

(via Jeremy Parish.)