Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Let's go bowling: Check out my review of Rock of Ages


So, instead of writing an "Article Afterthought", which is already kind of a self-indulgent thing to do, I'm just going to direct you to my Kill Screen review of multi-genre hybrid Rock of Ages. You can check out a little taste and preface of the piece after the jump.

Here's the thing about Rock of Ages: it kind of isn't about anything. And that's pretty ironic considering it tries to cover everything. It's a big mish-mash of art styles, time periods, game genres and so on.  So what does something like Rock of Ages tell us? Here's an excerpt:

 The pith, the majesty of the game’s subject matter, is immediately undermined by Da Vinci’s breaking of the fourth wall. Sisyphus is no longer embroiled in an epic struggle: he is performing inanities for my amusement. And somehow, this is disempowering to me as a player. There’s a kind of absurdity to human hubris, to an overestimation of the nobility of our actions. Greek mythology taught these lessons well. So, perhaps, can videogames. 
If nothing else, the game comes off as self-aware. It's also very deprecating, both toward itself and to the cultural history in which it contextualizes itself. Whether it actually does this on purpose--well, I can't honestly answer that. But there's certainly enough evidence here to make one feel a kind of belittling, existential malaise. To make one reflect upon the significance of one's own life, of their actions, and of the role of art to represent that.

Also, fuck Golden Keys.

Read to find out what I mean.

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