Month: April 2014

Let’s Play: The Blackwell Legacy

And with one small step for Matt, one giant leap for Abnormal Mapping, the first Let’s Play of the site is here! Come along on a journey with Rosangela Blackwell into the surreal and the sad, through this Wadjetye Games series debut from 2006.

This game isn’t about space.

Sorry.

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Read For Speed

Need For Speed raced into movie theatres this past month, and we here at Abnormal Mapping wished to pay tribute to the adventures of Tobey Marshall in the only way that is fitting: reading the novelisation (of the movie of the game) whilst playing Burnout Paradise.

It’s a weird and wonderful journey, through high highs and low lows, fast fasts and slow slows, and we captured the original livestreams and brought them here, forever, to you.

Come and take a ride.

Rosalina’s Tragedy: Tone and Contextualisation in Super Mario Galaxy

storybook1When I sat down to play Super Mario Galaxy, I didn’t expect to have any burning desire to write about it when I was done. After all, Mario games is Mario games is Mario games, much has been said about their mechanical effectiveness, their ability to create a childlike joy with this pure sense of play – all of which holds true in Galaxy – but somehow it still managed to surprise me, and affect me on an emotional level. That’s because Super Mario Galaxy has one of the best stories that I’ve ever seen in a video game.

On the face of it, that seems like a ridiculous statement, Mario games have extremely functional stories which exist purely to provide context for the character’s goal. This gives the player a sense of narrative completion when the goal is achieved, thus making the game more satisfying to ‘finish’ than it would be were it just an arbitrary list of levels. And Galaxy’s story fits that exact mold – as always you have to collect Xs to rescue Peach, and in this case the Xs are stars! But if the defining characteristic of story within Mario games is to contextualise play in a minimalistic fashion, Galaxy runs with that to a beautiful endpoint. The story elements serve no longer simply as a motivation or justification for engaging with the game, but here contextualise the experience as a whole as a nostalgic, bittersweet tribute to childhood. (more…)

When Lying About F2P is Your Hook: Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball

rusty1Nintendo’s announcement that they were going to make a free to play (F2P) game was something I was kind of concerned about. Square Enix has basically turned F2P into an abusive slot machine meant to gouge players, so seeing another big traditionalist company try to do the same thing was a worrying idea, up until Nintendo announced that in actuality, their F2P game was going to be a haggling game, where you’d try to coax down the price of the content presented in the game from a virtual store keeper. Okay, that at least sounded interesting. Enough that I’d give it a try. Which, it turns out, is the point. (more…)