Game Dev Story is a bit mean to its staff, int it?

Wolfenstein 3D, Custer’s Revenge, Ethnic Cleansing , Super Columbine Massacre RPG!,
that game where you shoot JFK: all are examples of aspects of the real world being looked at through the lens of video games. They’re all - to differing extents and in their own ways - difficult to laude as works of high (even low, in most cases) art or defend as rounded, fair or (maybe) even worthwhile endeavours. They are all button-pressers: games that wear their controversy-courting intentions proudly on their sleeves (sometimes just above an insignia-emblazoned armband). While the first two examples are merely sillily offensive, it’s that all five are grounded in very explicit real world contexts - as part or complete recreations of specific events and happenings - that imbues them their power to wilfully shock and/or disgust. Game Dev Story isn’t like any of these because it hasn’t a divisive bone in its body. It does, however, centre itself on a very real world industry, and by doing so is actually quite mean in the process, if, of course, you’re inclined to look at it that way (which I am, just so you know).

Stumbling around in the dark: Metro 2033 with the English turned off

Metro 2033 is a tale of survival, hope and skulking. It’s an atmospheric and affecting, sometimes scary, sometimes tense, rewarding and exciting look at life after a (you guessed it) nuclear holocaust. Most of all, though, without the English dubbed dialogue it’s a surreal duck into a world of half-whispers, confusion and mistaken identity.

The ability to remember aspects of popular culture is a skill that’s lost to me. ‘Remember how great that line was in that film we watched a decade ago? It was right striking wasn’t it? To the point where after hearing it only once we can now quote it verbatim and will do so forever.’ “Well no, not really my old hypothetical chum. I certainly won’t be ‘cos I forgot it almost the instant it was spoken in favour of paying attention to the intervening years of my life. Sorry to have put us both in this very awkward position.” Quotes, scenes and overarching narratives can all be heard ‘round water coolers the world over. Some boffins can even remember and render entire video game maps from memory; a feat which I find admirably super-human. I though, am rubbish at remembering stuff.