Halo, Goodbye: Paul McCartney writing a game score for Bungie

It often seems as though the mainstream media (in this case Forbes) only feels comfortable covering video game culture if there’s a suitably mainstream angle to take, in this case the involvement of the increasingly irrelevant Sir Paul McCartney. What of the excellent (and, finally, award-winning) work of Jason Graves (BAFTA award winner, Dead Space), Akari Kaida (BAFTA award winner, Ōkami) and Jack Wall (BAFTA award nominee, Mass Effect 2)?

Nothing more to add. Really, I was just pleased with my Halo pun in the title. In lieu of any insightful analysis, I invite you to enjoy Still Alive, the brilliant song that accompanies the closing credits on Valve’s Portal (written by Jonathan Coulton and performed by Ellen McLain).

And, while we’re at it, here’s Want You Gone from the end of Portal 2.

Nostalgia, and learning from video games

There are some slightly problematic statements in this article, but it’s interesting none-the-less.

An American sophomore student (presumably at college) makes this comment regarding Assassin’s Creed:

“It’s set in Renaissance Italy. The attention to detail is so great you honestly pick up the layout of Florence and interacting with real historical figures and real events that happened.”

Assassin’s Creed II

Assassin’s Creed II does, indeed, feature impressive reconstructions of Renaissance Italy. Also, killing people.

Now, it’s not clear from this slightly vague statement what – of value – the student feels he has learned from playing Assassin’s Creed, but it’s clear he believes he has gained something from the experience. What might be interesting to find out is whether he subsequently sought any more authoritative information on the “historical figures and real events” encountered in the game, from alternative sources.

The rest of the article deals mostly with Pokémon (presenting the series of Manga-inspired games as something of a Nineties phenomenon, although a Western-friendly version of the game was not released in the US until the tail end of the decade). I had not considered the educational value of Pokémon until now (it’s one of the few Nintendo franchises I’ve never really become obsessed with), but perhaps it warrants some investigation. From the article:

“Marquez [the student in question] said there’s a lot of intelligence and patience that goes into Pokémon games. He researches stats, some of which involve complex math equations, before compiling a Pokémon team.”

Marquez continues:

“I will sit down with a pen and paper… and make sure my team is well-balanced. You can breed Pokémon to battle.”

Pokémon

Pokémon: it's educational!

My main issue with the article, however, probably lies with the fact that late-Nineties games such as Pokémon are considered retro. Contrary to what the seems to sophomore think (and I may be reading more into his comments than is strictly sane), his is not the first generation of adults (if we can be called that) to have grown up with video games.