I celebrated my official assession to Doctoral Candidacy (and some other good news) by finishing LOST: Via Domus, which I began a while ago. Via Domus (translated as “The Way Home” in the game”), is composed of four “episodes” that take place parallel to the main action of LOST: Force Majeure, A New Day, Via Domus, Forty-Two, Hotel Persephone, Whatever It Takes, and Worth a Thousand Words, each with about an hour of gamepplay. The game concerns a character who wakes up shortly after the original airline crash, not knowing his name or why he was onboard.
The island is beautifully rendered, but unfortunately one cannot explore much of it. Like Half-Life 2, there is an invisible rail that guides the player. At all times, there is a right thing to do, and a right place to be. This can be annoying, as alternative solutions that do not fit within the pre-written story are generally impossible to execute. At times this is annoying, such as when your character refuses to take a little detour, and instead has to run away from a smoke monster while carrying dynamite.
However, while gameplay can be limiting, the writing is fantastic. In most games, you play through the protaganist. In via domus, you play as him. The first time I realized this I was perturbed, but then I realized it was an original perspective on gameplay. While the main character decides what he wants, it is your puppeteering that gets him there. This at times raises moral qualms. The ending is more satisfying than most video game endings, as well.
I enjoyed LOST: Via Domus. I recommend it to anyone with an XBOX 360 or a sufficiently powerful PC.
The collapse of HD-DVD (and victory for Bluray disk) in the past week also scrambles the Microsoft XBOX 360 v. Sony PS3 race for second in the console wars. Microsoft has been benefiting from the next-gen video wars because, not only did XBOX 360 support HD-DVD through an add-on while the PS3 had integrated BluRay, XBOX 360 also supported on-demand video downloaded. Thus Microsoft benefit from a win or a draw, while Sony needed a knock-out. (Sony created the Bluray technology, int the same way that company created Betamax.)
Sony got its’ knock-out.
Up until now, PS3 sales have been depressed because of the BluRay add-on (who wants to gamble on the next-gen video tech when buying a game machine?), but now its benefits. The XBOX 360’s HD-DVD player is now worthless going forward, while the PS3 both will play next-gen movies. You’re now longer gambling when you buy a PS3. You’re buying a next-gen player that will play filsm that come out a decade or two from now.
Hard to believe this won’t increase PS3 sales, which will in turn lead to more game development, which would lead to more sales.
Sony gambled big by including a BluRay player on the PS3. Sony won.
Tthe XBOX 360 will allow consumers to enjoy such literary gems as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, at a fraction of the price a full computer would cost. The deep story, memorable quests, and allusions found through The Elder Scrolls series generally make it a mind-expanding game. I fondly remember the emotions I expected playing the previous game in the series, Morrowind, and expect the same nobility, awe, and wonder from Oblivion.
If the gradual decrease in crime over the past many years is partially caused by the rise of violent electronic, what will the mass worldwide representation of The Elder Scrolls-style dreamscapes mean? Will they become more or less consequential than movies such as Lord of the Rings and Narnia, and can electronic entertainment truly be meaningful with book-form accompaniment? And to what extent will the “virtual texts” that populate the virtual literary world of The Elder Scrolls count as novels?