Category_Cartoons, Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Newly Released Multi-Platform Video Game FAR CRY 3: BLOOD DRAGON Employs VHS and Declares it THE GREATEST FORMAT OF ALL-TIME!

On a recent jaunt back to my hometown and subsequent attending of a righteous classic-style basement party, a couple of my close friends of the ardent Gamer persuasion were abuzz about this newly released game called FAR CRY 3: BLOOD DRAGON: an independent expansion for the popular first-person shooter FAR CRY 3 game. Created by Ubisoft, this downloadable multi-platform extension is described by the creators as “an 80s VHS vision of the future”. Well, that sounds pretty groovy to me, man.

I know I don't really need a caption for this, but that picture embedded in my home state is indeed from a real-life basement party. My own. IT RULED.

Now, admittedly, I’m not personally inclined to the modern consoles and the ever-expansive interactive gaming communities; I’m more of an old-school NES addict turned Sega Kid, my early years filled with 8 to 16-bit video adventures in heavy rotation with endless stacks of VHS, Pantera CDs and inappropriate amounts of pizza and sugar soaked snacks. Gaming is the one thing I’ve gradually gravitated away from (though you will catch me playing Tecmo Super Bowl at least once a week), but when my buddies started fervently beckoning my attention to their newest gaming obsession, highlighting the numerous nods to 80s film and video culture, it just sounded too groovy to not check out.

This could easily be a VHS cover instead. And that's pretty groovy.

And Lo and Behold, the game looks totally killer. Of course, I haven’t personally played it, so I can’t vouch for the playability, fun-factor, etc; but for what it’s worth, the game has predominantly received high praise from the bulk of gaming sites. That, paired with my obligatory and admittedly semi-superficial study of the game, it looks absolutely bonkers. As a rule, it’s rife with 80s nostalgia. the color palate is blazing neon, and the characters are a heady blend of Spaceballs, G.I. Joe (the cartoon), Timerider and Mutant Hunt, all enveloped in one dystopian wreck of a world. Of course, you can check it out yourself with a walkthrough. The internet is an amazing thing.


The soundtrack was also a huge point of interest, and was described to me as reminiscent of John Carpenter’s best, channeling the feel of Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York. Upon further investigation, I found that the game was scored by the Boston-based instrumental wizards PowerGlove. Carpenter’s influence is heavy in the score, but it’s not without PowerGlove’s own accents and inclinations, which make it a ton of fun. Fans of Goblin, Zombi and Gatekeeper are sure to enjoy the OST just as much the game.

A look at the VHS "rentals" in the game. When you pick it up, it makes that distinct rattling plastic sound that occurs when you... pick up... a tape. REALISM.

But beyond the overarching 80s nostalgia and rampant film culture references, the employment of VHS aesthetics and actual video cassettes is what’s most notable and fun. Along with a classic tracking adjustment bar appearing at the bottom of loading screens, the VHS is employed as an object for collection within the game. One mission challenges you to collect AKA “rent” 12 separate VHS tapes, bearing titles like “You May Now Kill the Brides”, “You Have the Right to Die!”, “Drown Me to Death!” and “Bourne to Dance”. There’s also what seems to be a nod the supreme John Woo action flick Hard Boiled, with two tapes called “Boiled Egg” and “Bolied Egg 2: Boiling Point”. It’s some laugh out loud stuff, man. Different rewards are given as you start to gather these chunks of black gold, awarding you ammo, gun upgrades and if you manage to collect all 12 tapes, you are bound to receive “The Greatest Format of All-Time” achievement. YOU GOT THAT RIGHT, well-informed game programmers!

And THIS is what happens when you collect all 12 tapes. You can also flip the bird in the game, just for funzies. Pret-ty rad, I do say.

So, what’s it all mean? I feel like the release of this game is just another slice of evidence supporting the fact that VHS is back in general vision, the nostalgia is running high and people are apt to get a kick out of it, no matter what the context . When the game was in development, lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem had this to say about it: "I'm working on something now that will be surprising, I think, when it's announced. But it definitely is a 'strike while the iron's hot' thing, and we'll see." The proverbial Analog Era Nostalgia Iron is most assuredly hot right now, my fellow tapeheads. And I think a lot of people are catching on.

Feed that VCR everyday, play the game of life and Groove Always.

By Josh Schafer

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