Shinobi
Feature

Shinobi and the art of videogame “cool”

This article is part of PS2 Week, a full week celebrating the 2000 PlayStation 2 console. To see other articles, go here.  /// Shinobi (2002) begins with a cliché. Two honorable ninja warriors, a master and a student, face off in a duel. The winner will take a position as the leader of his clan. The other will die. Off to the side, a female member of the clan complains to an elder: Why does it have to be this way? “This is something they have to do,” he replies. Of course he does. Shinobi exists firmly in the cliché action…

Haunting Ground
Feature

Heart attacks and doggy treats: the PS2’s most bizarre horror game

This article is part of PS2 Week, a full week celebrating the 2000 PlayStation 2 console. To see other articles, go here. /// On the US release of Dario Argento’s 1977 film Suspiria, New York film critic John Simon panned it as “a horror of a movie, where no one or nothing makes sense: not one plot element, psychological reaction, minor character, piece of dialogue, or ambience.” I used to agree, but I’ve seen Suspiria a lot since then. It’s true that the film’s rather twisted internal logic requires a degree of good faith on the part of the audience;…

Shadow-of-the-colossus-Cliff
Feature

A landscape of memory; returning to Shadow of the Colossus

This article is part of PS2 Week, a full week celebrating the 2000 PlayStation 2 console. To see other articles, go here. /// It’s hard to calculate the distance from the clifftop to the sea below. My body, my eyes, the trembling in my legs tells me it is far, too far. Yet I can make out the marbling of the dark water as the foam traces fractal patterns after every impact. The white spray flash-bulb frozen against grey stone. The glassy shapes traced by swirling currents. These details feel close, painfully close. Perhaps it is the rhythm, the yawning…

PS2 Slim
Feature

PlayStation 2, the videogame console from outer space

This article is part of PS2 Week, a full week celebrating the 2000 PlayStation 2 console. To see other articles, go here. /// What makes a videogame console successful? Forget about software libraries and units sold, I’m talking about the design of the actual box that you hook up to your TV. At first blush, the Nintendo GameCube seems pretty notable. It’s downright adorable with its purple color scheme, cute miniDVD discs, and stout, blocky profile—and let’s not forget the notorious handle on the back to be used for carrying the console around like a Playskool oil lantern. The GameCube…

Indigo Prophecy
Feature

The joys of taking a shower and sipping coffee in Indigo Prophecy

This article is part of PS2 Week, a full week celebrating the 2000 PlayStation 2 console. To see other articles, go here. /// In the men’s restroom of a New York diner, a dazed man stands over a corpse. He knows he killed the person but insists, to no one other than himself, that someone else was controlling him, that a moment of temporary possession had caused him to murder the restroom’s other occupant. Panicking, he struggles to hide the body in a stall, grabs a nearby mop to clean the red off the floor, washes the blood from the…

Shadow of Destiny
Feature

Shadow of Destiny, the PS2 game ahead of (and behind) its time

This article is part of PS2 Week, a full week celebrating the 2000 PlayStation 2 console. To see other articles, go here.  /// Paracelsus first coined the term “homunculus”—the Latin portmanteau meaning “little man.” The 16th Century occultist used the word to describe a miniature, fully-formed human that he believed could be produced through the “putrefaction” of isolated human sperm within a horse’s womb (yes, you read that correctly). The unconscious desire implicit in this bizarre interspecies experiment—for a man to be able to create life without the aid of a woman—was apparently lost on Paracelsus. He presented the idea as…

Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
Feature

Failure and rebirth in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter

Star Trek’s cavalcade of hit-or-miss conceits includes a fair share of philosophical thought experiments, and chief among them is the “Kobayashi Maru.” This name refers to a wargame for Star Fleet military cadets used to evaluate how officers-in-training would react in an impossible-to-win scenario. The crew being examined receives a distress call from a fellow ship called the Kobayashi Maru, a wounded bird floating defenseless in the void, and upon reaching it two Klingon vessels emerge and attack. The captain must decide whether to leave the Kobayashi Maru to certain destruction or engage the firing ships, though the cadets are…

Y02SumMovieJ - For FriMag - THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE - David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprise their roles from the legendary television series as, respectively, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Photo credit: Diyah Pera/© 2008 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Maximum width 80.91 picas at 200 dpi. 4/28/08
Article

The glorious return of The X-Files, TV’s greatest science show

There was one point in my life where I thought about becoming a member of the FBI. In the months prior to my graduation from college, I had decided that I could put the 200+ hours that I had invested into The X-Files to good use. Of course, after I learned of the trials and tribulations one had to go through to get there (like a fitness test, and the ability to overcome the fear of being near a gun), my weak noodle arms and I dropped the idea. I also played with the idea of becoming a Ufologist for a…

Screen_shot_2014-06-18_at_4.00.49_PM_1
News

Twin Souls, because ninjas and stealth games were made for each other

The first thing you notice about Twin Souls is that it’s very dark, in a pitch black sort of way. And though you can barely make him out in the screenshot, buried in the darkness is a shadow ninja killing sensei in a very vengeful way. This can only mean one thing: this hot-looking Kickstarter project from dev Lince Works is a stealthy ninja action game with a deemphasis on the blockbuster-y action and a surplus of stealthy ninja-ing. It’s clearly a love letter to the old PS1 and 2 era franchise Tenchu, which still gets a sequel on occasion. But…