Art Perspective: I Am Alive

The only new game that I’ve been playing lately is the Xbox 360 downloadable title; I Am Alive.

Not much is happening in arty gaming at the moment, and not much is happening in the gaming world in general, but it€™s not the end of the world. As we all know, the start of the year is a very slow time for games and gamers. This game writer has been playing through those old titles that have been nagging at my trouser leg for years. Old titles are in no way bad, as there is never enough time in the day to play every great title, so I€™ve been playing Sniper Elite for the first time. The only new game that I€™ve been playing is the Xbox 360 downloadable title; I Am Alive. Rather than writing another review, (that I€™m sure anyone who is interested in the title would have read ten others before this one) I€™m going to write about it from this columns usual arty point of view.

The first thing of note about this title is that it does not conform to the usual video game stereotypes. The character you play isn€™t a magical chosen-one destined to save humanity, he isn€™t a super hero or even a young upstart ready to take on the world. The main aim in this game, as the name might suggest, is to keep your heart from stopping. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world. You play as a usual guy as there has been no favorable mutation here. He must navigate his way through this dangerous world in various ways with the eventual goal of checking whether his wife and kid are still alive. The game makes for a refreshing change from the usual video game, in a medium where anything is possible, most games end up on the other side of realistic. With this title developers Darkworks and Ubisoft take a somber look at what it might be like to survive nuclear war or a similar catastrophe. The result is a highly emotional and tension-filled adventure that really shows what video games are capable of.
I Am Alive does a great job of telling a story. It feels like the gaming version of other post-apocalyptic tales. The Cormac McCarthy novel, The Road features a father and son and the daily struggle they face surviving in an inhospitable world. The feature film The Book of Eli tells of a similar tale of one man and his endeavor through such a harsh world. Although the film feels as though is has been tailored for the mass-market, it makes for an entertaining romp and has some memorable moments. The Fallout series stands out as the video game telling of a post-apocalyptic tale, with the games creators going on to make the super popular Skyrim. At times, Fallout manages to capture a sense of desperation of trying to survive with little recourses, but plays very much like a computer game, with its RPG structure and extensive hud. So, you should be playing this game, despite its flaws. It is well worth the experience and shows what video games can achieve when a developer isn€™t afraid to do something different. Games are great at allowing players to enact fantastic scenarios, but what I Am Alive does is show that games can also reflect reality.

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