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About GameSetWatch

GameSetWatch.com is the alt.video game weblog and sister site of Gamasutra.com. It is dedicated to collecting curious links and media for offbeat and oft-ignored games from consoles old and new, as well as from the digital download, iOS, and indie spaces.

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Column: Chewing Pixels

Chewing Pixels: 'A Cautionary Tale for the Young Games Writer'

May 12, 2008 8:00 AM |

- ['Chewing Pixels' is a new GameSetWatch column written by British games journalist and producer, Simon Parkin in which he explains what you should think about video games - or in this case, game journalism - and why.]

Charlie was a gamer who decided he would write
(not fair: Charlie was a writer who chose games for his insight)
Calloused thumbs
Filled with twitch
Muscle memory
Now to earn a living from his (2nd) favourite teenage hobby.
A critic,
A reviewer
This is how he'd spend his days;
Ten hours, then a judgment, then the promo to ebay.
First came his blog,
Then their website,
Then his words in national print.
Then reactions, reader comments
Critic critics?! Narcissist.

Charlie was quite brilliant
His prose tight and rare
His words perspicacious
His final judgments fair.

But Charlie was a drop in a tidal wave of choices
His commentary discarded
For more forgiving voices.
Still, he reasoned in his head, with marked maturity:
“I'll reduce game writing’s volume but raise its fidelity”

Chewing Pixels: 'GTA IV: The Immigrant Issue'

May 1, 2008 8:00 AM |

Niko.jpg ['Chewing Pixels' is a new GameSetWatch column written by British games journalist and producer, Simon Parkin in which he explains what you should think about video games and why.]

Niko Bellic is the most likable Grand Theft Auto protagonist we’ve yet seen.

He’s smart, funny, loquacious and you get the feeling that his brushes with (and reluctant employment by) Liberty City’s criminal underworld are born from poverty and necessity rather than an inherent tendency toward violence and viciousness.

He’s seen things.

This much we know from his infrequent moments of soul-bearing wartime recollection (which never feel forced) and so he exudes the kind of scarred, tough maturity that comes from surviving the bleakness of battle rather than the posing immaturity of so much gangsta pastiche.

That Rockstar decided to cast the player as an illegal immigrant for their hero is cause for celebration, not eye-rolling derision. He is an asylum-seeking protagonist with more depth and character than ten thousand lantern-jawed American heroic archetypes.

In fact, his portrayal (at least to those with half an eye open) should do more to warm viewers to illegal immigrants than any of the (nevertheless awesome) characters in, say, the culturally-acclaimed TV series, The Wire.