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Wednesday
Aug212013

Gaming’s Super-Powered Savior

Saints Row IV had all the hallmarks of a disaster in the making. Rumors of stretching what was to be a small piece of downloadable content into an entire game, one with a mighty quick turnaround time from its predecessor, did not bode well. Neither did the marketing which appeared to be trying to out-crazy a game that was already exploring the outer limits of Crazy Town.

A scant few minutes into the game I was disarming nuclear missiles in mid-air, punching aliens in the face, and outrunning cars down city streets. Saints Row IV is glorious, and I couldn’t be happier. It is deeply refreshing to see a potential train wreck of a release turn out so right for once. That’s a rare sight these days.

I firmly believe the industry needs this kind of game right now. As our collective focus turns relentlessly to the maturity of the medium, deep storylines, realism, gritty overtones, and brown landscapes as far as the eye can see, we need a Saints Row IV to come along and remind us how to have fun. Staring at a screen and controlling glorified digital shapes with a hunk of plastic buttons need not be something we always take so seriously.

Am I glad we’ve gotten to the point where we can bring up discussions of gender roles in gaming stories and not be laughed out of the room? Am I glad my mind can be blown and my heart touched by stories told in games such as Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us? Absolutely.

Am I equally tired of the pretention and self-seriousness that comes with that territory? So much yes. For all that we’ve gained, it seems like gamers are afraid to go back and enjoy the gleeful colors and ridiculous fun games of old used to give us.

My plea to you: remember to enjoy the outlandish. Embrace the interactive insanity that only games can deliver. Go blast some aliens with a dubstep gun. 

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