This week's guest is illustrator and sculptor Derek Walborn. You can see his work at www.derekwalborn.com. He was also the star of our very own Dan Gurewitch's short film, A Death Sandwich.
TALKING POINT: What games stick with you after you've turned them off?
Derek: The Silent Hill series will pretty much ruin any slumber party you might have planned in the near future. Jeff: Resident Evil and other horror games use cheap scare tactics, like sudden music stings and creatures leaping into frame. Sure you'll jump, but it doesn't stay with you the way Silent Hill's knife-wielding skinless babies do.
Derek: I feel like if I fumble for too long with my keys in a hallway, I'll be pummeled to death by a naked mannequin or perhaps puked on by a phallus in platform hooker boots. I mean, I guess there are some people who might really enjoy either of those things happening to them.
Jeff: Getting into the Hellraiser series when I was 11 desensitized me to bizarre imagery, so I'm going to choose a different game. Guitar Hero has completely changed the way I listen to music. I now pay more attention to guitars, and when it's something particularly complex I'll think to myself, "Wow, daring use of the orange button. These guys are good."Derek: People usually have no idea that Carlos Santana actually invented the red button. Before that, the scale just went from green to yellow.Jeff: When Vice City first came out, I was playing it for several hours a day. As much as I hate to admit it, every time I got stuck in a traffic jam I was tempted to murder a hooker with a golf club.Derek: After I played GTA 3, I was really tempted to break out my dad's old jet pack, eat burgers until I threw up, and then stab a nun. Luckily, dad forgot to fuel it up. I mean, the thing just sits there in the garage.Jeff: It doesn't really work the other way real life behavior doesn't affect the way you play games. If you get stuck in a traffic jam before playing GTA, you don't hijack a virtual firetruck and sit at a traffic light.Derek: If real life were more like Grand Theft Auto, parking garages would always be packed full of criminals hiding out for five minute intervals until the police, SWAT team, and Army just say "Well, guess he's gone" and go about their business.
Jeff: Every winter Neversoft unleashes a new Tony Hawk game, and every winter I go through a temporary obsession with it. On the rare occasion I go outside, I'll start seeing potential combos everywhere. "If I got some speed up and hit that railing just right," I'll think to myself, "I could probably jump onto to the top of the bank. No, definitely."
Derek: This is interesting because way back in the day I doubt that anyone who was just playing Mario Brothers 3 would have been like, "Dude, I bet I can fit in this pipe." And then their buddy would be like, "No man
Those things are full of venus flytraps."
Jeff: But, as the Guitar Hero example proves, it's not completely a graphics thing.
Derek: I suppose that's true, although I can't think of a single NES game that people might be reminded of in every day life. Unless of course they were playing Irem's classic Get A Job And Hate Your Wife.
Jeff: Nintendo was known for pushing the envelope creatively with games that focused on exploration, like Metroid and Zelda. Conversely, Sega always specialized in arcade-like titles and some of their best were on Dreamcast. Virtua Fighter, Crazy Taxi, and Virtua Tennis were all terrific, though fleeting, games.
Derek: Power Stone was pretty awesome. What other game would allow you to kick over a baby stroller, remove the infant, and then chuck it at your enemy (where it explodes on contact)?
Jeff: You can't talk about great Dreamcast games without bringing up Soul Calibur. The graphics were on par with anything the PS2 would ever see, and since fighting games haven't improved since Tekken 2 the game play doesn't feel especially dated. Dreamcast saw a lot of great games, but it's easier to remember what the Dreamcast was missing a quality Sonic game.
Derek: Sonic Adventure had everything you could want in a 3D Sonic game
especially if you wanted a game with "Sonic" in the title but would rather play as an obese purple cat that fishes for frogs.
Jeff: Sonic Adventure used this really ambitious Pulp Fiction-esque storytelling. Seemingly random things would happen, and you wouldn't understand until you played through a different character's story. It was pretty clever, but nobody ever played Sonic for the story.Derek: It had just enough Sonic in it to allow me to enjoy it, but it was the beginning of Sega force-feeding its audience dozens of worthless characters we care nothing about. A bat with breasts? Get out of here.Jeff: That bat ruined Sega. This segues nicely into our final talking point.
Derek: I've got two words: Mega Man. Capcom needs to get back to basics here. The Battle Network series is only popular because old people confuse it with Pokemon due to the fact that there are somewhere around two million different versions of the games. Kids just feel too bad to let Grandma know that, at some point between interrogating Wal-Mart stock clerks about the lower price of Target's paper plates and crapping her pants, she picked up the wrong birthday present.Jeff: Weird, I always thought Mega Man was one word. The series may be named after Mega Man, but the real star was always Dr. Wily's robot army. It's funny to think about now, but back then Mega Man's graphics and style were both cutting edge. Everyone from the bosses down through the hard-hat guys had personality. Capcom never really figured out a way to bring that charm into three dimensions.
Derek: Maybe it's just easier to imagine Wood Man as being scary when you're eight-years-old.
Jeff: Maybe. At least they still make Mega Man games. What I want is another Jumping Flash! Maybe in 1996 America wasn't ready for a game about a robotic jumping bunny, but I just read an article that marijuana is more powerful now than ever before.Derek: I don't remember that game. Sorry.
let me think of another. Oh, got one. Electronic Arts is shredding money every day they aren't developing new Mutant League sports titles.
Derek: Knowing EA now, they would probably try something sneaky with it like trying to tie it to "The Mummy" movies or something. "If you liked Mutant League you'll love The Mummy: Zamboni's Curse." I can just picture Brenden Fraser's likeness as he slaps a puck into the Scorpion King's net. I mentioned that in jest, but I think I would actually pay hard cash for that game just to see EA do something like that.
Jeff: Once they develop the first one, they can just start cranking it out annually. Everyone's going to buy it just for the roster updates, like how Bones Jackson is no longer on the Toxic All-Pros.
Derek: "I can't believe that Scab-fart Bloodgut got traded!"