Do you remember back in 1997 when Wired magazine ran a cover feature on Doom, titled Doom Goes To War? While we were all playing Descent II and waiting for Unreal to come out, here was Doom, the game we all played in 1993, gettting the cover treatment. This, to my seventeen-year-old hardcore Gamefan-reading eyes, was proof beyond all doubt that Wired was out of touch, that it just didn’t “get” it.
Argh!!! The pixels make the man!
I couldn’t help recalling this yesterday as I watched a curious story rise to the top spot on Reddit and get Dugg 785 times. Wired.com’s Clive Thompson brings us Victory in Vomit: Sickening Secret of Mirror’s Edge. Now the first thing I’m wondering is whether this story would mean anything to anyone if it wasn’t running on Wired. I’m the first to admit that Wired has come a long way editorially since that Doom cover, but a story on the potential for an fps to be vomit-inducing?! My mother might write a story like this, but what action gamer worth their salt has this problem?
Thompson’s thesis hangs on the apparent effect of proprioception in Mirror’s Edge, supported by being able to see the main character’s arms and feet while she runs around. To me this comes across as an exercise in mental masturbation. DICE comes out with a game that looks different from the fps pack, and Wired has to blow it into a big exposition. Perhaps the simpler explanation is that since Mirror’s Edge isn’t very focused on gunplay the developer’s had to show us something else, just to keep us anchored in the game’s virtual space.
Trespasser let you see stare at your own breasts. Feel like vomiting?
What Thompson is really getting at is art direction. I found Mirror’s look to be striking, but that shouldn’t be enough to carry it. If this game made Thomson puke, is that a case for or against buying it? This leads me to the issue of loving on a game for its look and contrivances, and not for playability. Negative Gamer ran a great article on this. If you want a fair review, Ben Kuchera at Arstechnica does a fine job dealing with Mirror’s shortcomings.
So I ask, what’s the story here? Why is this Wired post getting voted up? If Mirror’s Edge made this review vomit, I imagine Wipeout XL was an absolute nightmare for him.