Revrews xeox :seo

DEAD RISING (Capcom) 00000

s children we all dream of the future. ‘I want to be a fireman Mummy!‘ or 'I want a big house'. While these dreams are personal. there is one ideal that every human dreams of. 'Please. please let there be a really good XOfTTblG game!‘ And Dead RiSing is it. A heady mix of GTA. Si/ent Hill and the Dawn of the Dead movie. As small town photoiournalist Frank West. must investigate an outbreak of the undead at a shopping mall. Branching missions help guide you through the carnage as you rescue surVivors. capture the madness on film and perhaps uncover the truth. Graphically the game is spectacular. with a fantastically gaudy mall housrng thousands. of shambling corpses. The most fun to be had is picking up the nearest thing to hand and caving zombie skull. The ‘whoop' of delight when discovering the lawnmower will wake the neighbours. It is this freedom to enjoy the simple. stupid fun that makes Dead RiSing so good. Our childhood dream come true.

(lain Davidson)

xeox 'ir/i SAINTS ROW (THO) 0.

There are certain things you do because ,ou love them. The; are the things that make you happy. that celebrate your time on this planet. Then there are “if? other things. the dull. mundane. soulies: things. the things ,ou do because you have to. because they pay the rent. And the suspicion is that Saints Row falls into the after

category. It is a GTA by the numbers yet Without any love or enthuSiasm. It feels terriny cynical. The bits that are most like GTA work fine and retain a little of the

enjoyment of their inspiration. However. the rest is terribly lifeless. There is nothing necessarily wrong With Saints Row as a piece of software: it does everything it should do. But the style. the class is missmg. And it is smaller, more constricted. less immersive than it should be, with miSSions feeling like missions rather than episodes in yOur story. Saints Row was made to pay the rent. Let's hope that its success and it probably Will do okay funds something the developers can celebrate.

(lain DaVidson)


ANIMALS The net isn't all hardcore porn. illegal ; downloads and nerds. It's also chock full of sites like this. that do exactly what they say on the tin. ie supply loads of pics of cute baby animals. Pages and pages of the fluffy little

P82 YAKUZA (Sega) 0000

You Will either love Yakima or you wrll hate it. There is no middle grOurtd. The meandering through the glorious neon streets of Kamurocho Will either beguile yOu with their character or bore you. The side guests and stories wrll engage you. drawrng you away from the main plot as you revel in all that Yakuza offers. or they Will Simply be ignored. The basic combat Will either make you smile. delighting you With its Visually stylish brutality. or it Will frustrate. irritating you With its on- rails inevrtability. As a good example. imagine Shenrnue With Japanese gangsters. If you hated the freedom. the slow pace. the lack Of signposts then yOu Will tom the Yakuza haters. However. if you fell in love With the characters. the feeling Of reality. of a livmg breathing world. then Yakuza will be the start of your next IOVIng relationship. It feels less like the experiment Shenmue was and more like a proper game. But there is no getting away from the fact that this is still a title that will divrde those who walk its shady streets. ilain DaVidsoni

Systems addicts?

Sam Friedman examines whether the current tabloid obsession with videogame addiction is justified.

long-standing joke among gaming fans. videogame addiction has

recently crashed onto the public agenda. First there were last

year"s freak gaming-related deaths. where a (‘hinese boy jumped 24 storeys after playing lliirltl ()t‘llkiri'ni/r and another ('hincse man was sentenced to life alter murdering a player who had stolen his virtual sword. There followed the media fren/y last month after a gaming addiction clinic opened in the Netherlands. boldly claiming that 2(l‘i of all gamers are addicts. More recently. 'Iiiiir'g/ir ii-r'r/i TI'l’I'UI' McDonald waded in with ‘alarming evidence‘ that children are becoming 'dangerously addicted‘ to video games.

While games played on consoles can become the object of compulsive gaming. these problems are usually solved through parental intervention or the self-limiting nature of such games. However. it's the new breed of Massively Multiplayer ()nline Roleplaying (iames (MMORPUs) such as Evert/rim! and lt'nr/(l of Him-raft (H'nlt') which are beginning to stir the interest of academics and psychologists. These games are infinite and continue to evolve even when the player is away from the screen. ‘No boundaries result in heightened compulsion.‘ says Dr Dave Greenfield. founder of the Center For Internet Behavior in (‘onneticuL ‘Whereas books have a clearly defined end. MMORPGs have no natural pause.’ But Greenfield and others who think the socialibility of MMORPGs makes them more ‘addictive' may be hugely underestimating the games' positive capabilities. Take Walk for instance. ()f the game's estimated 7 million subscribers most play in guilds where players must interact to progress. and building friendships often takes precedence over the game.

'80‘}? of gamers are actually playing with friends or family and strengthening personal relationships.‘ explains Nick Yee. from Stanford University in California. But while we let kids obsess over sport we shun new behaviour revolving around technology. It was the same with TV in the 1970s and even with novels in the l‘)th century.

So perhaps we must be more careful before simply branding heavy gamers ‘addicts‘. While there are gamers with unhealthy attachments. it's pointless to blame this on games themselves. As Yee points out. ‘excessive gaming is just another behavioural dependency. much like excessive shopping or golf.‘ The difference. though. is that we are much slower to criticise compulsions that have positiver percieved social outcomes. ()nline gaming therefore should perhaps be re-evaluated as a positive and intensely social activity.

BOOKS For all you budding authors Out there. a self publication websne that isn't a rip off. Simpiy print as and when an order comes in. There are no minimum print runs. no set up fees and yOu keep control of the rights. Or of course you can always browse other people's self published WOrk; y0u never know what yOu might turn up.

104 THE LIST 5—19 Oct 2006