‘A man chooses, a slave obeys.’
Andrew Ryan, Bioshock
There comes a moment in every gamer’s life when, much to the consternation of those around them, they succumb to the forces of middle age, and install Arma. For those who are unaware, the Arma series of games are intended to be hyperactively realistic military simulators. One must factor in fatigue and distance when assessing the effectiveness of their soldier, lest they shoot or run less effectively. And projectiles and shrapnel are precision modelled that they might better depict the mathematical vagaries of warfare. One is required to walk a great deal in these games, and since the threshold for death is so limited, one could very easily find oneself keeling over, dead, because a lone gunman on a hill decided to fire a round at a nearby barn, but the wind blew the bullet off-course and hit you instead. One begins the long walk again, over the fifteen or twenty minutes it takes to get to the objective, and one has learnt their lesson. To uninstall Arma immediately.
In this publication, our finest mind(sic.) are hard at work decoding the secrets of film and literature, spending countless hours with the analytical scalpel, shaving the fine particles of disillusionment from the puzzle-box mysteries of art. It is easy to be careful, and loving, when one is discussing work from either of these mediums. They are well established, and lauded with more frequency than almost any other form of art. Interactive entertainment, however, fares a little worse. For a start, they are called ‘games’ in the main, which is an astonishing waste of breath for anyone who knows how monstrously detailed these worlds are, and how carefully their spaces are presented. The colloquialisms for these works are cheap; as though Tetris and the sprawling epic Skyrim were in any way similar.
Our publication shall, in the way it strives to remain lyrical and generous at all times, pursue its coverage of the medium in a way that is entirely removed from intellectual prejudice against them. My hope is, dear readers, that even those among you who do not play video games will still enjoy the articles we publish. You may, if you wish, use us as your personal Virtual Reality headset; except that instead of strapping a plastic Oculus to your face, you will be performing the far more immersive task of reading. Think of us as your experiential translators; a place from which you may vicariously live out the fantasies of engaging with these properties whilst having to purchase none of the requisite expensive equipment.
The Schwenge Benge is committed to bringing interactive entertainment alive on the page, and examining, with compassion and incisive analysis, the effect of these astonishing works of genius on the human imagination. We have discussed our thoughts regarding those other mediums, literature and film, and are now committed to also providing content for the greatest frontier of all – the landscape of space, which is the greatest and most effective purview of the medium of interactive entertainment. Remain curious, and you may find yourself in a world of ideas that had hitherto not occurred to you. If you already are, welcome. I think you will appreciate the difference.
PORTAL – GAMES APPROACH ART
A fun puzzle box, or an existential nightmare? One of the first great games.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 – LIFE, DESPITE ITSELF
A vision of the future, bleak as anything committed to screen. An essential masterpiece.