Total Recalls

Having seen the Total Recall remake trailer in the theatre and having heard an internet persona that I hold up quite high talk smack about it, I wanted to check out what it was all about. Having seen the original and the remake trailer earlier today, with fresh memory of them I will try my best to reason the existence of the remake. Yes, it’s true that I can’t compare the two as I haven’t seen the remake, but that is not important here as all I will try to do is justify the remake and not do a comparative review.

The original is a great, cheesy Arnie action-flick that is a minor mind-fuck as far as uncertainty of what is really real goes, with cool dialogue and pure R-rated goodness. I cannot deny what a great action movie it is, but it is certainly not serious. And all studios, developers and the media in general have decided that viewers need to have everything completely straight-faced and devoid of fun and cheesy action.

The mindless majority of contemporary consumers would much rather see a reasonable badass tear through squads upon squads of faceless henchmen grunting and huffing, performing minimalistic but nonetheless badass martial art and pulling off headshots left and right rather than a humorous beefcake with an awesome German accent riddling people with bullets and stabbing them with any elongated object lying around to send gallons of blood spraying out.

In the 20 years since the release of the original Total Recall the entertainment preferences of the consumer majority have changed. Most people don’t like mindless fun anymore and they are all about the realism and badassery just because they’ve been spoon-fed that for years by development teams of whichever media outlet. A good analogy for this is 90’s most popular awesome action fuck-yeah shooter vs today’s: Duke Nukem 3D vs Call of Battlefield Medal Whatever. Duke Nukem sold because then the market wanted silly uncensored, ridiculous fun, now it demands realism and grounded plot because the majority of consumers grew up with the uncensored fun and now stupidly consider it childish.

Of course a soulless remake is a kick in the crotch for the fans of the original, but it makes sense for the company to try to cash in on a premise of a movie that would sell well if it was made to fit the mold of today’s consumer demands. The wrapping of the original would cater to a very small percentage of consumers today, but if amended to what the average consumer wants it has the possibility of being a big hit.

Surely some will go home and forget about this movie, but some will also be exposed to the original through the internet or friends and having seen the remake will be more likely to see Arnie’s Total Recall. The increased amount of exposure would mean that more people could see the original and love it for what it is, while they would never have otherwise.

Most remake-bashers will argue that this is unnecessary; the first movie is perfect as it is and yes, that is true. The latter, at least, because as I have said above: no matter how perfect it is for the fans, the dumb majority of population now would not find it as appealing as the cool and gritty counterpart. So while this remake is equivalent to the studio spitting in the face of fans it will also lean in to whisper “I did it for us. For US, buddy.” and wipe it away with its personal handkerchief as the evil overseer leaves.

I am in no way on a high horse, I suppose that I can just view it more objectively as I’m not a long-time fan of the original and therefore have no attachment to it. And so, I would like to wrap it up by saying that instead of stubbornly hating the entirety of the situation one could calm oneself down by reasoning it with change in consumer base and trying to uplift one’s spirit with hope of bigger exposure of the original in the light of the remake.

Mundane Game Mechanics That Would Be Awesome In Real Life

There are just some things in games that we take for granted and never really give much thought. Some of them are purely informative and some are actually extremely useful. Being the thoughtful and bored guy that I am I noticed myself picking them apart and fantasizing about how awesome it would be if they were real. I’m not talking about stuff like stopping time or super strength or whatever, but uh…

Stats

Stats - Blacklight: Retribution

Have you ever thought what it’d be like if all items in the real world had videogamey stats? Probably not as there’s a good chance that you have better things to occupy your mind with. Well, I have and let me tell you, it would change the way we do everything. Shopping – you can make clear decisions on what to buy depending on what you want. Take pants for instance; you can choose depending on durability, speed, agility, defense, style and etc. no longer will you have to put up with pants that even a kitten can tear to shreds. Also those with no sense of style can hide it very effectively.

People – you can make fun of people for having lower stats than you in something and be absolutely factual about it so that they can’t argue back! You can pick your fights depending on the standing of your stats against the opponent. Maybe you can take him out in one punch, maybe you can dodge until he’s all worn out and then attack or just run the hell away if there’s no way to win and he has everything higher than you apart from speed and stamina.

This tiny aspect of game mechanics would mean the most well-informed decision making since ever and would no longer leave it to guesses and gut-feelings.

Highlighting of Useful Objects

 Highlighting - Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Many games have interactable and useful objects highlighted, like Deus Ex Human Revolution, for instance – it has a bright orange tint over everything useful and Metal Gear Solid has the items spinning a foot above ground. This would mean that one would no longer have to spend eons searching for a lost object – they would see it right away. Take this situation as an example: you’re looking for a tiny DS cartridge in a pile of useless stuff in your drawer. It would be extremely hard to find amongst all that crap, but not if it’s spinning a foot above all other things or is bright orange while everything else is just gray with a slight orange tint! Mundane game mechanics come to the rescue again!

Mini-map

Minimap - Metal Gear Solid 2

Ho boy, this is something very dear to me as an idea. Sometimes it just sucks to be in a new place, be it a city, area or house. Imagine you need to know where all the useful places are, like shops that sell a specific candy, or the location of a nearby bathroom! They would be highlighted as a current quest location on your mini map and you could walk there right away without a bother.  Let’s not forget those times when you just want to get from one class to another without running into anyone but have no way of knowing where they are or when you need to sneak into a top secret nuclear research facility to take out a group of mercenaries threatening your homeland with nuclear annihilation. Well, now you have full awareness of their locations, and you can go about avoiding people/snapping necks without having to worry about running into someone you didn’t mean to run into.

I was once lost in the subway, I didn’t know which exit to town I had to take to get where I needed to be and I looked up to the top-right hoping that there would be a map there to help me out. I felt like a fucking idiot. In my defense I was playing the hell out of MGS2 at the time, but nonetheless. Yes, we are coming close to it with smartphone GPS and soon Google Glass may provide a real-life HUD, but for now the completely correct mini-maps with item and personnel location remain in the realm of games.

3rd Person View

3rd Person View - Skyrim

A fair amount of games has third-person view which give almost full awareness of the surroundings and yourself. It expands the viewing angle to 360 degrees instead of the usual angle of approximately 150 degrees that humans see with their eyes.

Not only can you know what’s behind you at all times you can know exactly how people are seeing you, so perhaps you want to hide really well but don’t know if the top of your head is poking out. No more would one have to watch the shadows as they’re walking alone at night, you can look behind and in front of yourself simultaneously. I know that if you’re reading this there’s no way you’re a geek who gets picked on in class but nonetheless: if somebody’s throwing pieces of paper at your head you can casually avoid every single one to make them think that you have spider-sense and just look cool. Or make it absolutely clear about who’s the culprit so that you can corner him later and web him to a lamp post.

Perhaps you’re trying to park and you’re not sure if the car is going to fit –you can clearly see the car in its entirety and park without a prablam. Third-person view would help out not only in everyday situations, but also in butt-pirating preventions along with pissing off assholes, and that’s pretty great in my book.

Hacking

Hacking - Blacklight: Human Revolution

Real-life hacking involves an extensive knowledge of programming which is something relatively few people possess, while in videogames it’s ether a simple puzzle or a quick time event that anyone with half a brain can perform. Surely it would be a horrible if everyone could just do that and all your devices could be unlocked by a 5 year-old and no information could be protected: even governmental facilities and banks would be as vulnerable as a teenage girl lost in a biker club.

To counteract this there would also be completely uhackable terminals that only your sexy female informant friend can hack over the phone. So again, only those with sexy female informants would be able to do that, which means that only about 7 people in the world would be lucky enough to have all the electronic gadgets in the palm of their hands.

How you could avoid getting your information stolen? Use rock PCs and rock phones. Nobody can hack stones, so you’re in the clear. You can also live under them and that’s great. Or just write on paper and put it on a pin-board, those things never have the poly-count high enough to distinguish the letters, it’ll only be squiggly lines to others.

So there they are, just a few game mechanics that we never praise but would make the world quite a bit more awesome.