Don't get me wrong, I'm never ashamed of being a gamer, but there are certain games which come along every now and then that reassure me just how great the medium of games is. Each of these three games made me proud to be a gamer, each for very different reasons. Click on to read what and why.
3. Gamocracy One: Legend of Robo7
Gamocracy has some of the best new ideas I've seen in a platformer for a long, long time. You can use your own head as a projectile and a platform. You can use a magnet to attach to magnetic platforms, and to attract dustbin lids which can be used as shields against enemy gunfire. You get a laser gun that is powered by the orbs that also act as your life force, like the rings in Sonic, creating a real risk versus reward system. "So what?", I hear you cry, "They're pretty good ideas, but what's so inspirational about them?". Well, what makes this so inspiring is that the game was designed by the gaming community. The glorious, inspirational, incomparable, creative, enthusiastic gaming community! What other medium has such a passionate community? The fact that indie deveopment team The Bearded Ladies felt prepared to leave the design of their game in the hands of strangers on a forum demonstrates how much faith they had in it producing positive results. And it did. Admittedly there are always some elitist fanboys out there to make you think the gaming community's horrible, but overall it's essentially brilliant.
2. Riff: Everyday Shooter
Riff is a back-to-basics top-down shooter with an all-guitar soundtrack. The reason I find this game so special is that I feel it is demonstrative of the indie game renaissance that has occurred in recent years, as not only is it beautiful and brilliant, it was developed by one man, one lone genius called Jonathan Mak. What makes Mak's story even more impressive is that he and his work were embraced by Sony, who released the game on PS3 and PSP via the PlayStation Store, giving him the full backing enjoyed by a platform-exclusive studio. For what is essentially an experimental, slightly artsy game, the fact that Sony backed it so heartily shows just how far indie games have come, and that major platform holders have come to realise their importance. Nowadays there are more opportunities for one man making a game in his bedroom to catch a break than ever, and that can only be a good thing.
1. Heavy Rain
The best narrative in gaming? By an absolute country mile. People had numerous gripes with Heavy Rain, for example the occasionally fiddly controls, the huge amount of Quick Time Events and the slightly dodgy voice acting. These criticisms are true, however it seems incredibly picky to let them tarnish your views of the game as a whole, a failure to see the bigger picture. The fact remains that Quantic Dream used the medium of videogames effectively to tell a coherent, emotionally affecting story, and this is something that has never been done so well before, or since. Heavy Rain was the game that made the world stand up and take notice of videogames, and realise that they are a medium that is capable of more than men shooting each other in the face. It dealt with serious human issues such as death, grief and mental illness in an adult manner, created an unrivalled attachment to the characters and made the player's decisions matter.
So yeah, that's why picking on Heavy Rain's little problems and inconsistencies is pointless and pernickety. And why it made me proud to be a gamer.