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Metal Gear Sartre

Admittedly, I am a bit late to the party. I have only recently completed the first three entries in the Metal Gear Solid franchise. My biggest aversion mainly came from the fact that the series ostensibly seemed too much like something Tom Clancy would write. Add to this the fanboy sentiments so lavishly bestowed and you have a recipe for something that is most likely going to be incredibly generic. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I gave it a chance.

Each game tends to dwell primarily on one theme. In the first game, the main point is the exploration of nature versus nurture, Sons of Liberty focuses on the transmission and control of information through social means, and Snake Eater is about cultural relativism. Philosophically, these topics offer a wide range of commentary. However, they are explained at length within the game and elsewhere. Instead, the most interesting and least expounded upon aspect that I noticed was the existential journey of Raiden in Sons of Liberty; more specifically, how this journey relates to the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre.

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Of Dolls and Doubles

The premise of Dollhouse is that the Rossum Corporation has developed the means by which the human brain can be manipulated. An individual is placed into a chair that wipes clean the brain, saving the original personality on a hard drive the first time, and installs the Active architecture upon which future personalities may be imprinted. This includes memories, habits, and skills relative to the required task. The unimprinted Actives possess only the most rudimentary of skills leaving them in a childlike state. This gives them the nickname dolls and informs the name of the establishments themselves, Dollhouses. The technology is used by Rossum primarily for what could be best described as brothels. A client explains a type of romantic encounter he or she wishes to have and a suitable personality is created. Because of this, the Active is not simply acting during the experience. He or she truly is the requested person. Upon completion of the engagement, the Active is wiped returning him or her to the doll state. Dollhouses recruit individuals by offering substantial, financial compensation, an end to personal struggles such as PTSD, and the assurance that they will remember nothing they did during their employment. These promises are fulfilled at the end of a five year period of service.

Mind and Body

There is much to be said about the ethics of prostitution, indentured servitude, or animal rights, but the most interesting aspect of the plot is the treatment of the mind-body problem. Dualism is the philosophical theory that the mind and the body are separate substances. While mental states may correlate with the body, the mind itself is not an explicit part of the body. That is to say, the body can exist without the mind and vice versa. Dualism is contrasted with physicalism, also called materialism, which states that the mind and body are inseparable. All things mental can be reduced to the physical.

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Deus Ex Human Representation

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is intriguing not only for its gameplay, a mixture of stealth and gunplay, but its cyberpunk attitude and commentary on where technological endeavors may lead the human race. A large portion of this success is owed to the characters who manage to be multi-dimensional while maintaining representations of specific ideologies. It is these ideologies that inform the power of the endings helping to make the game exceptionally memorable as it feels that the player is making a lasting choice regarding the fate of humanity through Adam Jensen. While the various endings are interpretable in a multitude of ways, of specific interest is how the philosophies of the ending characters are all associated to varying degrees with simulacrum.

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Review: Another

The horror and mystery genres work well together. Both place an emphasis on the imagination of the viewer, toying with his or her understanding of the situation at hand. The best horror has to offer often rely on the conventions seen in the mystery genre to create an atmosphere conducive to the terror-horror experience. Another is one such anime series to thoroughly rely on this pairing.

The story begins with a voiceover narration. In 1972, a girl named Misaki belonging to Class 3 of Yomi Junior High passed away. Loved by all for her attentiveness to studies and skill at sports, she was a very popular girl. So, her classmates were understandably distraught upon her death. To ease their pain, they pretended as though she had not died, at least until graduation. In 1998, Kouichi Sakakibara is transferred to Yomi from Tokyo where he receives treatment on his lung and joins Class 3 while his father is in India. He is greeted in the hospital by three stoic representatives of the class including a girl responsible for “countermeasures” who outline their expectations of his behavior. Later, he meets an enigmatic girl wearing an eyepatch, Mei Misaki, carrying a doll to the hospital basement as he is discharged.

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Picking Up the Pieces in Silent Hill

In order to understand Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, we have to consider that much of the narrative is told through analogies. Everything that is capable of appearing in various incarnations and major characters, we must assume, bear significant importance upon Cheryl Mason’s psyche. Of course, using analogies is only capable of so much. After all, sometimes a chair is just a chair. There may be various interpretations as to the meanings of everything within the game. Though, this is simply the way in which I have interpreted the story based on my playthrough and knowledge of the differences that occur.

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Opinions May Vary: Good Horror Movies

After seeing Child’s Play at a very early age, horror movies have been an interest of mine. The movie itself scared me beyond belief. This was exacerbated by the room full of porcelain dolls next to the bathroom in my childhood home. However, the idea that something so absurd could be so terrifying was intriguing. There was a video rental store within biking distance to my house that miraculously managed to stock some of the most obscure and underrated horror movies imaginable. They had films ranging from Wes Craven’s Deadly Friend and Shocker to Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste. Needless to say, I voraciously watched as many of the movies available as I possibly could.

I also enjoy anything made by Joss Whedon, though I have no intention of watching the episode of Glee he directed. So, when I discovered that a horror film was being released helmed by him, I had to see it. After a couple viewings of The Cabin in the Woods, I have to say that it is probably one of the better horror movies to ever be made even though its status as “horror” is debatable. Its trenchant criticism of many films of the genre was perfectly executed and quite accurate. While much of the horror genre has become stale for a number of reasons, it is easy to forget that there are some well done movies that have remained relatively obscure.

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Review: Gotham City Impostors

Gotham City Impostors, developed by Monolith Productions which made F.E.A.R. and Condemned: Criminal Origins, is a game built on extravagance. From the clothing choices to the calling card selections, everything about it screams, “Look at me!” While there is certainly enough incentive for a person to grind to unlock a new top, pants, symbol, catchphrase, or background, there is some solid gameplay at the core of the experience that can keep anyone coming back for the fun.

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