It’s easy to read about the ladies and gentlemen of previous times — say, the Regency or Victorian eras — and cluck at just how silly and simple those people were, to care only as far into the future as next Friday’s ball or Jane Warmporridge’s upcoming wedding. To fret so intently over appearances and the ministrations of their servants. To live with such a vast gulf between husbands and wives. It’s so easy to read about those people in those different times and let out a sort of superior chuckle. The easiest thing in the world, really.
So although a few folks have voiced concerns that Ladies & Gentlemen sounds a bit, ahem, sexist, in reality it’s a marvelous tool. For, you see, by the end of the game you’ll understand precisely how much a well-matched dress and hat can matter. Most importantly, this is one of the first board games that has stood out to me as having actually taught me something. And I’m not talking about trivia, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to say Trivial Pursuit is an important game.
Meet Anna. She’s the first female character in the Metro series to have a name — other than Nikki the prostitute from the first game. Which means, if you couldn’t guess, today I’m writing about the sexist undertones in Metro: Last Light.
If you thought you’d never see the word “sexist” here on Space-Biff!, you’re not the only one. Since this is a site about the things I like, I don’t often talk much about the things I don’t like. Even my few negative reviews only exist because I really enjoy panning bad games. The thing is though, I really like both games in the Metro series. For the most part, they encourage thoughtful, even considerate, behavior. That’s a rarity in any genre of videogame, let alone in the first-person shooter genre, which one could argue makes its bucks by being the exact opposite of “thoughtful.” In fact, I’d go so far as to label Metro 2033 as one of the most moral games I’ve ever played — which is precisely why the sexism in Last Light bothers me so deeply.
It’s more than a little flattering that my most-received request for Space-Biff! is for my thoughts on Metro: Last Light from 4A Games and Deep Silver (and formerly THQ, rest in peace). This is probably owing to the synopsis I wrote last year, which you should totally read, if only because it makes me feel beautiful on the inside.
My one hangup in delivering an actual review is that, while I’d love to fall back on a tried-and-true critique like “it’s two steps forward and one step back,” the reality is more that Metro: Last Light is dancing the Charleston, with so many steps, leaps, and bounds in every direction, that in the end I can’t be sure which direction it’s moved at all. Which isn’t to say I don’t have thoughts on the proceedings — I’ve got plenty. And you can read them below, in a format that includes only a few minor spoilers.
I don’t know if there’s a name for that type of question that members of the same generation ask each other — things like “Where were you when JFK was shot?” or “when Sputnik went up?” or “when the Wall came down?” — ones that give folks a feel for each other, that establish they’ve lived through the same tragedies and triumphs, like a person’s rough backstory is encapsulated in the answers. I like those questions. Sometimes it’s good to know we come from the same place.
I came along too early for my question to be about 9/11 and too late for anything with Cold War flavoring. “Where were you when Clinton was re-elected?” doesn’t have much ring to it, though I can answer it (kitchen). I’m having a hard time thinking of anything else I could use. Oh, maybe Clinton’s impeachment. I was in the kitchen for that too.
Anyway. Here’s my question, and you’re going to think it’s a joke but it’s not. I’m completely serious, because for me this moment was like a warehouse light getting switched on, revealing aisle after aisle of potential, and I realized: “Computers. We are going to do stuff with these.”
Be warned, this will get sticky. Violence generally does. You might be thinking you have some experience with this sort of thing, but I can assure you that no, you do not. And if we’re going to do this, you need to do exactly what I tell you, exactly when I tell you. No excuses or deviation. Just try not to think too much.
You’ve been warned. You may click “Read More” at this time, but remember, it’s your choice, your finger. Don’t blame me.
I’ve finally finished writing up my synopsis of the story and themes of Metro 2033, a brilliant game and one of my all-time favorites. Below is the index. It’s a small index, since I only wrote five parts, but still, it’s below.
Act Five marks the end of Artyom’s (and your) journey, and lets you know it by starting right where the game’s introduction left off: Artyom and the Rangers are under siege, both by hordes on the ground and hordes above. Overhead looms the final objective, the imposing Ostankino Tower, where the Rangers hope to call down fire on the Dark Ones. As the Rangers’ lines are breached from every direction, and even as their armored car is thrown onto its side like a toy, Artyom is knocked down by a diving monster.
Artyom’s come a long way, and seen things he couldn’t have imagined back when he left Exhibition Station. He’s done both great and terrible things too. Now, here in the windswept dark, his journey is coming to an end, one way or another.
“By protracting life, we do not deduct one jot from the duration of death.”
—Lucretius, “On the Nature of Things,” Book III, line 1087
Back in January I wrote about a story-light but emotion-heavy game called The Snowfield. It was such an oppressive experience (I mean this as a compliment) that I never managed to “finish” it, if such a thing can ever really be finished, even though it nagged at me for days. After eight months, another student project has caught my eye. This time it’s In Ruins from Tom Betts, a haunting twenty-minute expedition that’s both part of his research for his PhD and a prototype for the procedural generation that will be seen in the upcoming Sir, You Are Being Hunted by Big Robot.
I recommend you give it a try before reading on.
Hi there, loyal Space-Biff! readers! Today we have something special planned—a guest review/impressions piece from a dude named Lee Everett. Lee is going to tell us all about the first episode of The Walking Dead, despite the obvious conflict of interest that arises from him being its protagonist. Oh well. There’s no such thing as an objective review, anyway! Find all about his adventures right after the jump!
There’s this game I’ve owned for a long time, Ascending Empires from Z-Man Games. It’s a great game, and I’ve known that since the day I bought it, but it only made it to the table twice. This summer we started having friends over for game nights a lot more often, and as a result, I’ve been playing it regularly—and it’s rocketed onto my Best Board Games Ever list. Why? Not only because it’s a good game (I already said it is), but because it makes me feel pathetically fantastically hilariously inept.