Orphanage Nightmares

«Mary had a lamb
His eyes black as coals
If we play very quiet, my lamb
Mary never has to know…»

– Evanescence «Lose Control»

It’s the early 1930s England, a few years before the Second World War broke out. A teenage girl named Jennifer is forced to work for the Red Crayon Aristocrat Club: an unruly, cruel society formed by the children of the Rose Garden Orphanage. Children are creepy. Very creepy indeed.

Rule of Rose is a survival horror game for PlayStation 2 published in 2006.
It uses psychological horror elements throughout its distorted storyline and timeline, and uses, as in Haunting Ground, a canine companion for the main character.
Guys, the enemies. They’re just… plain WEIRD. At some point, you are actually fighting an Imp Chicken. What’s not to love here?

The trailer released for E3 is simply stunning.
I know it’s a little bit long at 6 and a half minutes, but I promise you, it’s really good.

Rule of Rose raised controversy in Poland, where the Ministry of Education raised questions concerning its appropriateness for minors (the game was rated 16+) because of the themes of child violence and sexuality. In the US it was said to involve “erotic undertones involving a cast of female minors”.
Due to this controversy, it was not released in the UK, only in Japan, US and Europe.

I hope they will re-release it one day (preferably on Xbox 360, heh…) where they will have more time and a bigger budget to work on the combat-system that was left a little rough, and much criticized.

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> What do YOU think about survival-horror games?

Sources:
Rule of Rose wiki
Wikipedia, Rule of Rose

Anti-christ Pokémon

Did you know that Abra, Kadabra and Alakazam was targeted by conservative Christian groups as representing anti-Christian aspects of the franchise?

Oh yeah. A pastor from Palm Beach, Florida refered to the symbols on their head as “a pentagram” and claimed the symbol on their chests were representing Nazi Germany’s SS-symbol.  (And while we’re at it, I noticed something weird researching this case. Check out the Kiss logo.)
Also, an Israeli “psychic”-magician, Uri Gellar, who claimed to bend spoons with his mind, sued Nintendo saying Kadabra’s Japanese name was an “unauthorized appropriation of his identity”.
Geller sued for 100 million dollars, but lost.
Sucks for him, I guess.

The madness doesn’t stop here, people.
The Pokémon Jynx was claimed to be a negative racial stereotype of African-Americans.
Jynx design was then changed from being originally black, to purple. They also had to recolor Jynx as dark gray rather than black in the manga.
But racism is not all, several animal groups have tried to ban Pokémon, saying it resembles cockfights, and is promoting animal cruelty. *sigh*
In Saudi Arabia in 2001, they banned the Pokémon franchise, claiming it encouraged gambling and promoted Zionism. Some other outspoken, fundamentalist Muslims claimed that Pokémon was a Jewish conspiracy that was intended to brainwash Muslim children to make them renounce their faith. These same groups claimed that the word «Pokémon» is a phrase that means «I am Jewish«.
And of course, the “Evolution vs. Creationism” conflict was also commonly brought up.


> What’s your view on this? Do you agree with any of the statements?

Sources:
Bulbapedia
Wikipedia, Pokémon, Video game controversies

Bioshock, pure brilliance

Today, I finally finished Bioshock. It’s been a long time since I first started playing it, and frankly, I adored it. To me, it’s an great example on how far the game-industry has developed from simple two-button games with almost no plot at all, to this epic story. Many will fume over my love for this game, but there’s just so many things that grasp my fascination, from the fantastic scenery, creative characters, and freaky children to the small, pessimistic fortune telling-machines that come up with fortunes like: “Look at the bright side: maybe it’ll be quick and painless.”

Medical Pavilion, the hub for all medical business, was responsible for treating all illnesses and health-related problems in Rapture.

Fort Frolic, featuring art, music, night-clubs and shopping.

Cohen shows the art of music

Many may think that there hasn’t been taken much thought in videogames, the way things look, sound like and how characters act, speak and even move. This is actually carefully developed by hundreds, maybe thousands of people, all specially educated in the new and growing artform that is videogames.
For instance, if you look at the buildings and interior design of Rapture, you will immediately see the heavy influence of Art Deco, a style that rose in the early 20th century and that is seen as elegant, classy and modern. Rapture is a post-World War II world said to have been made in the 1940 – 1950’s. Already here you can see that they have used the designstyle that is up to date with the world you are playing in, as well as a stunning soundtrack featuring Bobby Darin’s beautiful “Beyond the Sea” amongst other classics from the 30’s throughout the late 50’s. I strongly suggest you take a look at the Bioshock’s wiki page to gain more insight to how much work and story that was put into this game, it’s amazing, really.


Old poster in the Medical Pavilion

Spider Splicer

Houdini Splicer

The whole concept of creating a world out of your own imagination is really something I could see myself working with and making a living out of. However, I know it’s a though market out there, and I have great doubts that I will ever succeed out there with the masters of videogames. But we are all allowed to dream, aren’t we?

> What do YOU think of Bioshock and the art of videogames?

Sources:
Bioshock wiki
Wikipedia, ArtDeco