Friday, April 20, 2012

Prototype 2 - CRISIS!

Punch-Out!! was developed by
Vancouver-based Next Level Games
Well, it's not so much a "crisis" as it is a question of "ethics" as it pertains to reviewing Prototype 2.

I don't think it's ever been a secret that I'm a booster of game development in Vancouver (British Columbia). I'm glad that games get made here, and a lot of them are good or even very good. I don't think it has ever clouded my judgement when it comes to reviewing titles that get made here, but with Prototype 2 I've at least asked myself the question because of a recent multi-part feature I wrote that focused on the history of Radical Entertainment, the developers of Prototype 2.

I got to know some people that work there and made some casual acquaintances -- people I'd stop and chat with outside the context of visiting a game studio -- so is my judgement clouded by that? Having met some of the people that poured so much time and effort into Prototype 2 is my reaction to playing the game somehow being affected by that? That's a question that a full-time Managing Editor or Editor in Chief would be examining to see if I should be reviewing Prototype 2. But The Armchair Empire lacks those roles.

If anything, I fufill both those roles.

However, the question -- can I review this with any objectivity? -- has made me think seriously about what I think about when I'm playing games.

For the most part, I'm pretty good at blocking out anything approaching Real Life. I'm not thinking about the demands of my day job, my mortgage, and all those day-to-day horrors that tend to stalk a mind that thinks too much. I'm not thinking about Radical Entertainment or the fact my commute takes me passed their building every morning -- they really need to fix the lighting for the "RA" -- or the fact that maybe I should be getting to bed right about now. Video games don't help me forget the pressures and stresses I'm feeling, but they do a great job pausing them.

So, I'm reviewing Prototype 2 secure in the knowledge that I can give an honest evaluation of the title. When I'm playing games, I'm in the moment and my focus is on the game and not on much else.

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