Periwinkle’s Art of War (02): The Fogs and Forgotten Battles of Alaska

Recently playing the classic Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation had me daydreaming and wondering about the history of the real Alaskan Peninsula Islands the game is said to take place on. Upon reading the Peninsula’s history I stumbled into a forgotten chapter in World War Two history and by re-examining the past I find new perspective of where we are in America today.

The fog never seems to end on the Aleutian Islands in the Alaskan peninsula but the low visibility has never seemed to slow nomads and explorers throughout history. Even at times acting as a strategic cloak or even a blanket burying the remains of soldiers long since forgotten.

Most of the islands themselves now belonging to the U.S. state of Alaska. While some farther west belong to the Far Eastern administrative district of Russia – known as Kamchatka Krai.

But hundreds of thousands of years before oil rigs, English colonists, Russian traders, merchants and Christian missionaries danced across the isolated piano teeth islands, the archipelago itself acted as Gaia’s horizontal ladder between worlds. The only land linking the continents of Asia and North America.

But it wouldn’t be the last time North Americans and Asians would find themselves co-occupying the territories for better or worse.

The “Alaskan Bush”

For gamers this setting would be most familiar with Metal Gear Solid fans. With the original PlayStation, writer Hideo Kojima realized that the 32-bit technology finally had caught up with his story telling and he aimed to redo and expand on his original MSX game, Metal Gear. He saw the updated technology the perfect platform to expand on the game’s lore and story in a more cinematic manner.

He wrote the entire game taking place on the fictional Shadow Moses Island. An island that is said to belong to a part of the real Fox Island Archipelago in the Alaskan Peninsula. Foggy year round, the adverse weather makes the destination extremely hard to navigate and naturally isolated.

But unlike Kojima’s fictional military conflict set in 2005 a real conflict unfolded between the United States and Japan in the same area sixty years before.

June 3rd 1942 began the Aleutian Island Campaign in the American and Pacific Theaters of World War Two. In only the second invasion of American soil ever, the campaign saw a small force of Japanese soldiers occupying two small islands on the archipelago.

Both Attu and Kiska islands, two of the westernmost islands in the territory of Alaska were occupied by Japanese forces. The Japanese reasoned that control of the Aleutian Islands would prevent the United States from an attack across the Northern Pacific.

Japanese troops raise the Imperial battle flag on Kiska Island in the Aleutians (6/6/42)

At first very little changed for the Unangans (the indigenous people living on the islands) under Japanese rule but that would soon change. Many Unangans would be captured by the Japanese and shipped to Hokkaido where they would be kept in internment camps in harsh conditions. Fearing the Japanese advance the American government forcibly evacuated the remaining Unangans into internment camps of their own where many would die due to exposure of Measles and Influenza. It would take nearly eighty years for the United States Government to formally apologize for the internment and treatment of their people.

Vehicles couldn’t maneuver across the island’s rugged terrain. United State’s soldiers here carry supplies by hand through Jarmin Pass

At the time the American and Canadian fears were growing to a fever pitch. They feared having most American troops already in engaged in the European and Pacific theaters of the war that there wasn’t a lot to stop the Japanese from moving up through the peninsula and overtaking Anchorage, moving south to Vancouver and ultimately settling in Seattle, Washington.

The Japanese opened up the aggressions with bombing Dutch Harbor in the city of Unalaska, Alaska. The aerial bombing which made use of the foggy weather conditions as cover lasted over two days – the second of the two days being much more effective – leaving a burning hospital, oil storage tanks and a breached barrack ship left burning in their wake.

140,000 American and Canadian troops were sent to the islands to meet the Japanese. Rugged terrain and ruthless weather would have devastating effects on both sides of the war effort. By March of 1943 a Japanese fleet was engaged in the naval battle of the Kormandorski Islands. One that would cut off Japanese supplies to the Imperial ground troops on the island indefinitely. Setting the stage for the largest forgotten battle on United States soil ever.

Operation Landcrab

On May 11th 1943 – “Operation Landcrab” began with the sole objective of recapturing Attu island from Japanese forces whose numbers only estimated around 8,000. Japanese forces despite being outnumbered and outgunned held the higher ground while Allied forces struggled with booby traps and frostbite.

Finally on May 29th following fierce entrenched combat the Japanese without warning led the largest banzai charge recorded in the Pacific theater. Led by Colonel Yamasaki the charge penetrated Allied forces so deep they wound up face to face with American rear-echelon support troops. The fighting that commenced there after was barbaric. Furious Hand to hand, face to face battle. Completely outnumbered, the Japanese troops were virtually exterminated.

Shortly thereafter Allied troops landed on Kiska island only to find it abandoned. Under the cover of fog the Japanese chose to remove their remaining troops from the area. Like ghost ships drifting back to the expanse of the sea the forgotten battles were now left to the mercy of time and history books which would bury them soon enough.

LEGACY

American military propaganda during WWII. (We’ve come a long way.)

In a foggy, frozen hell hole killing one another with their bare hands it would surely seem unthinkable to both American and Japanese soldiers that less than fifty years later both countries would be incredibly close military and economic allies.

But a theme Kojima constantly reminds his gamers of is that the enemies and politics constantly change yet the battlefield remains the same. Despite a time period’s politics and conflicts – despite yesterday’s rivals making todays greatest allies – despite what propaganda and claims of righteousness on either side of a battle may be – war is just as barbaric as it ever was.

After all of the decision makers and mouth pieces lay down and go to sleep at night it still all ultimately comes down to men and women – human beings – brutalizing and killing one another over an ever changing political landscape and societal policies that are bound to change soon enough on their own.

After the war the wounds began to heal and culturally the times changed as they always seem to do. With the increase in trade, the meteoric rise of the internet, video games, anime and more the love between our two cultures has never been stronger. I, like millions of other Americans LOVE everything about Japanese culture and Americans and American influence is met with an equally enthusiastic adoration in the Far East.

In a particularly heartbreaking week following the senseless murders of eight people in Atlanta – six of them women of Asian descent – it’s imperative for us as a melting pot to mourn the senseless loss of life together and to be angry on behalf of the victims together but most importantly use this time to embrace one another more than ever. To reach out to one another. To love ourselves and each other. To not let the despicable actions of not just this psycho but any racist shit head divide anyone.

To use our common loves as a constant reminder that we all are human beings and none of us are alone in this world. Sometimes the news cycle can make it look bleaker and darker than it is – but seeing the propaganda and history of the past one hundred years – even if we have a ways to go – we’re still heading in the right direction. Together.

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Periwinkle’s Five Favorite Video Game Writers

Occasionally on my days off from scrubbing the pool floor, changing filters, getting Chlorine in my eyes and falling off ladders trying to replace the festive holiday lights permanently fixed to the tiki bar I get a chance to spend some time on things I actually love.

And I’m not talking about spending hours alone weeping and pulling my hair out questioning poor level design, awful difficulty curves and gigantic plot holes as I play my monthly bad video games that the manager ruthlessly opens the door and tosses at me in my hut.

I’m talking about laying on the beach like an even more drunk TJ Miller sharing raw fish with my best buddy, Cookie and reading back issues of EGM. Reminiscing about Periwinkle in his naive youth. Thumbing through every single page of any gaming magazine I could afford while working minimum wage at a grocery store. Using dial up internet to keep up with his favorite writers in the gaming world. Knowing someday he too would be beloved in Japan and by a small but growing contingent in North America as a masterful script writer for an incredible Action Adventure series.

As you now know – obviously that all happened and now I’m just your typical billionaire that spends his free time in between riding in my personal jet made of platinum and naming Elon Musk’s children after cyborg angels writing for the blog because why not? I just love games.

So I guess I decided to create my own little list. I am going to briefly write about my own top five favorite video game writers. And I’m going to ask my co-conspirators on the site and YOU! (yes, you don’t be shy) to follow suit!

Also I don’t want to hear any belly aching about how, “March isn’t Video Game Writer Month” and “You can only write about your favorite writers in August!!” or any other made up blog rules because I don’t give a shit.

BUT – I do want to hear from you and your favorites! Be it video game writers, anime or book authors. Could be anyone – who cares – let’s rejoice in the people that make us happy. Alright let’s start:

These are in no particular order and this list is obviously not a proclamation of who is “the best” or any of that. Just my personal favorites.

DAN HOUSER

Known for: Grand Theft Auto Series, Red Dead Redemption series, Smuggler’s Run, Max Payne 3, Midnight Club, Bully

My Pick: GTA IV

Despite being one of the most commercially successful writers on this list, Dan Houser has always shied away from the celebrity some of his counterparts bask in. Growing up in England with brother Sam – the Housers ultimately ended up in New York creating the upstart Rockstar Games.

While not being created by the Housers they took over chief writing of the Grand Theft Auto series early on and by the third installation single handily revolutionized open world gameplay. The series has since went on to become one of the most popular video game series of all time (selling over 320 million copies). Grand Theft Auto has always been known for its dark humor, satire of American culture and homage to crime movies but with GTA IV the writing truly evolved into epic storytelling. Matching the updated and realistic graphics the gritty story followed anti-hero, Niko Bellic as an off-the-boat immigrant from the Baltics trying to start a new life in America – only to be forced into the same criminal lifestyle he led back home. It’s a mature and dark take on the American Dream and subsequently became an instant classic.

JOHN GONZALEZ

Known for: Horizon Zero Dawn, Fallout: New Vegas, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Horizon, Dungeon Siege: 3

My Pick: Fallout: New Vegas

Most die hard Fallout fans despite what system they swear allegiance to would tell you that they were giddy after Microsoft acquired Bethesda in September of 2020 because of one thing: Bethesda now being reunited with Obsidian Entertainment.

The last game the two companies worked on together was the near perfect, post apocalyptic masterpiece, Fallout: New Vegas.

The high water mark that some Fallout fans fear will never again be reached. Fallout 4 was good but it wasn’t New Vegas and Fallout 76 is unfortunately a stupid bastard child hated by all. But maybe all fans don’t know that in addition to Obsidian and Bethesda kissing and making up they will also need the help of John Gonzalez, the lead writer of New Vegas. The darkest entry in the violent series, perfectly paced and packed with exciting and interesting dialogue trees and characters, Gonzalez deserves a contract worth all the Nuka-Cola caps in the world to lead the writing team for Fallout 5.

SAM LAKE

Known For: Max Payne, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, Alan Wake, Quantum Break, Control

My Pick: Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

Max Payne was an absolute game changer for me. Revenge. One of the oldest tales ever told reinvented with style, bravado and a smoky verbosity that my friends and I still joke about to this day. The original Max Payne was about guns and Matrix-esque action sequences. In fact, they were on such a tight budget at Remedy that Sam Lake modeled for Max Payne himself, with other programmers lending their likeness for henchman and baddies throughout the game. They even used Sam’s own mom as the main antagonist, Nicole Horne.

But after Max Payne crushed it as a critical and commercial darling – the budget inflated and Lake hung up his modeling cap and turned the storytelling up to 11. The Fall of Max Payne is a masterpiece on several levels, between its submersible baddie dialogue to its expertly crafted Shakespearean-star-crossed-lovers story arc the Fall is not only a PlayStation 2 masterpiece but an achievement in story telling from an underrated modern day master.

DAVID CAGE

Known For: The Nomad Soul, Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy), Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, Detroit: Become Human

My Pick: Beyond: Two Souls

David Cage is a polarizing figure. I will acknowledge that. But thats it. I am only here to discuss writing prowess and even to that end his company, Quantic Dream also draws hard lines in the sand with gamers. You either really love Quantic Dream games or you don’t. There truly doesn’t seem like very much middle ground.

My personal pick probably seems confounding. Beyond: Two Souls was by far Quantic Dream’s least successful release. It was skewered by critics and gamers alike for bad controls. But it was easy to work through these issues with Cage’s script being read by Elliot Page and Willem Dafoe. If this game doesn’t give you the feels than I can’t help you. The acting is elite and Cage’s script keeps up with his talent.

HIDEO KOJIMA

Known for: The Metal Gear Solid Series, Policenauts, Zone of the Enders, Snatcher, Death Stranding

My Pick: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

The master. In the opinion of many (including my own) one of the greatest writers of all time. No one has quite mashed pop culture, action adventure cinema and overall gun powdered existentialism quite as smoothly than Mr. Kojima.

Throughout Kojima’s career one could argue no one has ever imposed a more convincing anti-war argument to teens through visual media. He may have created one of the most badass soldiers of all time but like all man made weapons of destruction he runs the film past the script end. Never afraid to challenge his own genre and medium no writer has ever been as bold as Kojima when it comes to challenging his players to look at the world around them and demand, “Why?”

ADULT SWIM HOURS

My two best friends that I constantly harass when writing any of my articles had some writers to add of their own they were mad I omitted. They know my guys. They know what games I love. But they needed the world to know:

Shigeru Miyamoto is number one. You don’t just write Mario/Zelda/Donkey Kong/F-Zero/Pikmin/Star Fox and get ignored on some idiot’s blog about great video game writers. It just can’t happen.

While that is true. A few faithful readers will remember that I’ve already been thrashed by a Twitter badass for my lack of absolute devotion to everything Nintendo as is. So I might as well continue this disturbing and challenging trend.

Also, this guy:

Neil Druckmann

This curly haired fellow? Neil Druckmann? He is solely responsible for one of my closest friends denouncing Xbox and buying a PlayStation 3. After watching a half an hour or so of Uncharted. I’d say that’s a pretty good endorsement.

Alright so… now it’s your turn.

@pinkiemon

@metalw0rker001

@foovay

@kurohanastudios666

And in addition to all of my favorite writing partners on the site I have a couple specific bloggers I follow as well. Obviously don’t feel obligated to but I’d be interested to read your favorites:

The Gamer With Glasses

Shoot The Rookie

Geeking-By

So there you have it. Who inspires you? Who are your favorites? Join the conversation in the comments below or let me know via social media at: Buffalo Retro

Periwinkle’s Art of War: That Time Ghost Recon Accurately Predicted War

Years before I became resident pool skimmer at Paradise I considered myself a bit of an amateur, “fictional war correspondent”. Examining warfare video games retrospectively, weighing the odds of probability for fictional conflicts or double checking historical “accuracies” in games about real war long past. Or sometimes just noticing coincidences or conflicts accurately predicted like today’s entry. For those of you that could give a shit about history, don’t worry – this is a new and sporadic type series and will be few and far between (mainly because it requires one iota of research and I am just heartbreakingly lazy).

I will be back suffering, playing horrible games for your reading pleasure soon enough. But for now, since your here, join me while we briefly discuss the time Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon accurately predicted war.

So today we will cover the very first Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon game and how it predicted (down to the year) the Russo-Georgian War. But first a quick overview for those unfamiliar with the game series and writer, Tom Clancy.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon was released in 2001 for PC and ported to consoles in 2002. While the game series is one of the only games under the Tom Clancy brand umbrella not based on an actual Tom Clancy novel it still does a fairly decent job guessing a geo-political crisis in the near future.

Tom Clancy was a best selling author who more than likely has written something you’ve either read, watched or played. The Hunt For Red October was his first novel. Patriot Games, Clear And Present Danger and The Sum Of All Fears all became commercially successful films based on his novels as well.

Somehow Tom Clancy looked exactly like I imagined he would.

The Ghost Recon video game series began development in the late 90’s into the early 2000’s and unlike Rainbow Six is not based on a specific story by Clancy but just his tactical/military based body of work.

From Wikipedia:

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon is a tactical shootervideo game developed by Red Storm Entertainment and published by Ubi Soft in 2001 for Microsoft Windows. It was ported to Mac OSPlayStation 2and Xbox in 2002 and to the GameCube in 2003. Ports for N-Gage and Game Boy Advance were planned, but later canceled.[6]Unlike Clancy’s other tactical shooter series, Rainbow SixGhost Recon is not based on any of his books.

Red Storm is an American video game developer founded by Tom Clancy and his manager, Doug Littlejohns (which is one of the most ridiculous last names I’ve ever heard). 

Anyways they debuted with, “Tom Clancy’s Politika” and really broke ground in 1999 with, “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six” series.

It was also published by juggernauts, Ubisoft. The Montreal based company that has also published all other Tom Clancy titles, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, Rayman, Prince of Persia, Watch Dogs and many other titles.

Ghost Recon takes place in the near future (at the time) 2008. An ultra nationalist groups seizes control of Russia displacing its current democratic leaders and begins taking back land and countries lost during the soviet collapse. Russia quickly seizes Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan and declares itself the RDU (Russian Democratic Union) and sets aim on its neighboring Georgia.

“The Ghosts” are a fictional ultra elite United States military squad first called in to stop Russian backed rebels in Georgia. The rebels are South Ossetia separatists but what makes this case and game particularly interesting is the coincidence of time between the game itself and the Russo-Georgian War. 

But to understand the significance of the coincidence we first have to look into the history of some of the parties involved and what better way to start than examining the modern day history of the gorgeous country of Georgia. 

Georgian flag

Just south of Russia, Georgia was under Soviet control until it regained independence in 1991. Following the regained independence however a long period of political strife, bloody coup and a civil war erupted.

Noteworthy Georgians include: Joseph Stalin and the best looking chess master on Earth Sopiko Guramishvili.

Definitely NOT the best looking chess master on Earth
Guramishvili
Oh and fictional mega babe, Xenia Onatopp. Best Bond villain ever.

Considered a frozen conflict zone (Disputed conflicts and territories left over from the Cold War) Georgia has had two internationally recognized territorial disputes. One with Abkhazia and another in The northern part of the country with South Ossetia separatists. Were going to focus on South Ossetia.

In short, South Ossetians helped overtake the Democratic Republic of Georgia and in April 1922 were rewarded their own separate autonomous administration called the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast. Leading up the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgian nationalism was at an all time high during the push for independence from the USSR. Tensions flared between the sides – with Russian backed South Ossetia and Tbilisi at odds. 

All a powder keg which would eventually explode in 2008 during the Russo-Georgian War. The war lasted only twelve days and is notable that it is considered the first war in Europe during the 21st century. It was also the first war to feature cyber warfare as well as traditional military means. 

After almost two weeks the French negotiated a cease fire between the two sides successfully but not unlike Crimea in 2014 Russia has occupied the territory since 2008 breaking the rules set in place for the existing cease fire.

What’s the largest coincidence?

That both the conflict in the game (between Russian backed Ossetian separatists and NATO backed Georgian military) and the real Russo-Georgian war both break out in the year 2008. The game effectively predicting the conflict seven years in advance.

The one thing the game did get wrong?

That it would take a fringe ultra-nationalist political party to oust the Russian administration of 2005. The truth being – there was already a fringe ultra nationalist in office by 2005.


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Tom Hank’s War on the French

Long before I ended up traveling across the pacific on a raft with only a volley ball to keep me company I was a world renowned Symbolist. I know it sounds far fetched but it’s true. Due to this experience I almost immediately have a hard time wrapping my head around The Da Vinci codes’ main character, Robert Langdon in the video game adaption based on the best selling Dan Brown novel of the same name.

Let me explain why. Interestingly enough, both, The Da Vinci Code game and movie starring Tom Hanks were released on the same day. BUT – the game version is not based on the theatrical version at all – sticking closely to Dan Brown’s original novel. So that’s why Robert Langdon in the game has absolutely no visual similarities to Mr. Hanks. In fact he’s better looking. But even knowing that – that doesn’t mean I will play fair and not compare video game/book Robert Langdon to Tom Hanks Robert Langdon. Because I’m not fair and never have been. That’s boring. So from here on out Robert Langdon is Tom Hanks and vice versus.

There are two universal truths in this world:

  • Despite being tall I will never be good at basketball no matter how hard I try.
  • If Tom Hanks plays you in a movie you’re a smart character but you’re physically weak.

If Tom Hanks was a trading card – any simple or evolved form of Tom Hanks would give you +5 boost in intelligence and awareness but your physicals are going to plummet. Out of all his movie eras Da Vinci Hanks has some of his most atrocious stat lines:

*The -3 Strength is attributed to his horrible hair cut. Not only does it makes him much more vulnerable to attacks from behind but also attacks from the front on his feelings and judgement.

Am I actually supposed to believe that this guy can beat up anything at all? Let alone policemen? Sometimes even several at a time? The historically ignorant may scoff at a French Police Force and the French in general for being too relaxed and refined to be bothered with any sort of fist fight with Tom Hanks. Their bellies too full with delicious cheeses and wines to bother kicking the crap out of a long haired Tom Hanks but I am not one of those people. I know what the good people of France are capable of.

It’s true – the French are a cultivated and beautiful people. With a language that is smooth, enchanting and musical it is easy to forget these brave people stared directly back into the face of Nazism with no fear. And fuck, they even took taxi cabs to battle in World War I. That’s classy and badass.

So I immediately find it far fetched that any Harvard scholar, “symbolist” played by Tom Hanks could just teleport down into the center of Paris and just start throwing hands at everything. It’s one thing to suspend my reality but to imagine that is to completely disown it.

Anyways, enough about Tom Hanks fighting Frenchmen.

The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 adventure puzzle game developed by The Collective and published by 2k Games. The Collective was an American developer that developed mainly licensed games for PC/XBOX/PS2. Looks like their most successful work was the game, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb. The Da Vinci Code would be their last release before merging with Backbone Entertainment.

The juggernaut publisher 2k needs little introduction. They publish everything from the BioShock series to the WWE 2k series of games.

The game was met with pretty mixed reviews upon release. Mainly the trouble was with the combat system (very dull and hard to handle) and the graphics (which I don’t think are too bad to be honest)

The puzzles are a lot of fun and I enjoy them quite a bit. It’s everything in between each puzzle that sort of sucks.

Here’s a penis for those of you that like them.

Recently, I had read a post from a writer considerably smarter than me about Christianity in a round about way. It was really well done and despite my lack of faith in just about everything (don’t take it personally) I liked the point she made. And it inspired me. Not to make peace with God. But to do exactly what she begged people not to do in the post: Absolutely dunk on a book series without reading it or knowing what the hell I’m talking about.

So – obviously – it goes without saying I am not Dan Brown. If I was I’d be too busy swimming in my pool of liquified gold to bother with anyone BUT if Robert Langdon in the book fights as many people as he does in this stupid game than Dan Brown is a ridiculous human being.

Also back on the Christianity thing for a moment – the book is basically considered some sort of demon spawn abomination for its rewritten religious history. So I could only imagine the Catholic Church would literally do nothing short of an exorcism had it encountered this game.

Anyways, where was I. It’s impossible to not get lost in a religious tangent when reviewing this game because the entire plot is literally a series of religious tangents. Some art, some mentions of important people, an albino dickhead and a French hottie that for whatever reason feels like protecting you.

It could have just been done so much smarter. While certainly not the worst game I’ve ever played – it’s still pretty damn stupid. Or maybe I’m pretty damn stupid and if I just read the book I wouldn’t be so stuck on the damn logistics of a fighting professor.

Granted Indiana Jones was a teacher that beat ass but that was Harrison Ford. If Harrison Ford would have played this guy I’d be all for it. Harrison Ford is boss sauce. What about Daniel Day Lewis? Matt Damon? Tom Cruise? George Clooney? Literally anyone but Tom Hanks.

The corpse of Leonardo Da Vinci could kick the shit out of Tom Hanks.

Alright, I’m done here. I’m obviously not going to get past it. It’s an okay game but not great. Good bye.

(DEFINITELY DON’T) PEE IN THE POOL

As you can see – the manager enjoys gingers and fisticuffs. I do not.

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)

5.) Blood of a Backstreet Boy (American Idol)

6.) An impossible to control Q-Tip (CSI)

7.) The tooth of a terrorist (Fugitive Hunter)

8.) One Mona Lisa Smile (The Da Vinci Code)

If for some reason you’d like to read more of my thoughts or follow me on social media: https://linktr.ee/DarkCorners

Fugitive Hunter – A Game About Terrorists..Made By Terrorists.

When I’m not cleaning out pool filters or checking the water’s PH levels I can often be found organizing my bad games alphabetically. Fugitive Hunter can be found under the letter, F, not for its name but because it’s Fucking dumb.

For nearly two days I had absolutely no notes on this game except that is was mind numbingly stupid.

I even considered just publishing that.

But that would be letting it off too easy.

Developed by Black Ops Entertainment – a gaming studio developed by four dudes that somehow graduated MIT. The game was published in 2003 by Encore Software – which looking them up – really doesn’t seem to deal with publishing games very often. As they shouldn’t.

The shear amount of ways to attack this game are almost overwhelming. It’d be impossible to cover everything that is wrong with it, to be honest. So I’ll just start at the macro level.

There are different types of terrorism. You have Narco-Terrorists (Cartels, traffickers, drug kingpins etc). There are politically motivated terrorists.. like the IRA. Then your garden variety (choose your religion) extremists and lastly there is a much less violent form of terrorism. A slow, bloodless coup of sorts. A war waged on the mind. Intellectual terrorists like the idiot, Bhad Bhabie or the Kardashians. Stupidity and pointlessness of such a dangerous scale that on a long enough timeline begins to indoctrinate an unsuspecting mind. Thats the territory the minds behind Fugitive Hunter belong to. Intellectual terrorism.

Definitely failed the Jack Bauer Quiz

Now that might seem a bit harsh but it’s how I feel.

Post 9/11 America was a weird place. Nationalism was at an all time high and I fucking hate nationalism. Every day in high school for lunch you could find yourself cornered by a recruiter for the Marines or Army. The more punk or alternative you looked the harder you were pressed. You couldn’t drive to the store without hearing a country song about kicking, “Usama-Obama-Ali-Muhammad’s ass” and every fucking Football game would have Jets fly over it. Because that’s what America does. We pay for Jet Fuel to fly over football stadiums instead of housing for the homeless people freezing to death outside of them.

So… I hated the ultra patriot bullshit back then as it is and Fugitive Hunter is the perfect reminder as to why. Macho-bro-American-flag-waving-bullshit. It *just* falls short of satire. If only the writers were just a bit smarter. Or didn’t actually believe the shit they were spewing.

Thats to not say it doesn’t have it’s funny moments. Objectively – fist fighting Osama Bin Laden in an arcade type fight is ridiculous enough to make anyone laugh.

Outside of that however the game just tries too damn hard. It just wants to be cool so bad. It’s really kind of sad to watch. Fortunately, it even seems like the developers realized about halfway through the game what sort of monster they have created and wrap it up abruptly. You can basically beat the final four or five levels within an hour and a half. It’s almost as if one of them woke up and really re-examined their lives.

As far as actual gameplay is concerned it is a First Person Shooter without an aim button. So that should sum up the mechanics of the game for you pretty well. The enemies respawn at a maddening rate – usually directly behind you. All great fun.

The dialogue is basically non existent and when it is there you wish it wasn’t. You can’t make it through a level without the main character tauntingly saying, “Yo Mama” to an enemy he has gunned down at least 15-20 times. The sound is awful. The music is shit. I’m pretty sure Dr. Dre and Eminem could sue them for ripping off the main chords/music to, “Kill You” off the Marshall Mathers LP.

The graphics are awful especially for the time it was released. It’s almost as if this game was created to be bad.

And then it struck me. Like a bolt of lightning – electricity traveling through the universe landing in my head and shooting out my fingertips. This game WAS created to be bad on purpose. This game is a weapon of mass disfunction.

Get this: Did you know Osama Bin Laden was not only big into pop culture but also anime and gaming? When the CIA released more than 417,000 files from the Bin Laden raid he had massive collections of anime, emulators and games. Even popular first person shooters like Counter Strike and Half Life.

So maybe… just maybe … back in 2003 when the government (that can see through buildings from outer space but inexplicably couldn’t find number one most wanted man worldwide, Osama Bin Laden) had to unleash the ultimate weapon. They would feature him in one of the worst video games ever. That would surely flush him out. Right? At the very least bring him to the brink of suicide. A fate deserving of such an evil man. – Periwinkle

(Definitely DON’T) PEE IN THE POOL

Just your typical chat between writers
And this poor soul who also has been victimized

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)

5.) Blood of a Backstreet Boy (American Idol)

6.) An impossible to control Q-Tip (CSI)

7.) The tooth of a terrorist (Fugitive Hunter)

Follow me on social media if thats your thing: https://linktr.ee/DarkCorners

Definitely not the reason I do this BUT if anything I write brings you joy and you felt like buying me a cup of coffee I would wholeheartedly appreciate it. https://ko-fi.com/colinsik

CSI: Paradise

Before I spent my days skimming pools on an exotic island resort dodging endangered baby Chinese Alligators that Sunny keeps putting in the pool I was a crime scene investigator. A blind, dumb and slow crime scene investigator that despite all physical and mental odds against me still managed to solve five mysteries.

I’m alone, belly up to the bar at Pinkie’s Tavern. A low lit place with smooth jazz and smoother drinks. I look at myself in the warm reflection of the glass behind the bar and then back down at my stiff drink. The singer – some dame with moth wings – purrs in the corner. Nick the bartender comes up quiet but stern.

“Listen, pal. I don’t know what kinda night you’ve had and I don’t wanna know. But I do know that it’s last call and I don’t want to but if I have to just know I‘ll haul ya outta here myself.”

After nights like these it’s hard to just go home. After seeing what I’ve seen for so many years I thought I had become immune to the horrors of crime. Only to be proven wrong yet again – and on this lovely island resort of all places. I will surely take the aftermath images of the Flaming S’mores Killer with me to the grave.

I pay my tab and slowly turn from the bar, adjusting my hat. I turn to look at the singer once more and notice the stage has turned into a load screen. Odd.

I go to step out the door and get hung up on a bar stool. Damn not again.

I’m guessing the bartender is now ordering me out by his body language but I can’t tell because all dialogue has muted itself.

I awake in a cold sweat. Relieved to know I am not some tortured detective in some B Noir Film but saddened that I, again, woke up on the same planet as the game developers that made CSI: Three Dimensions of Murder.

Shut up, you. Wrong CSI

CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder is based off the hugely successful original CSI television program that ran a jaw-dropping 15 years (2000-2015). Ted Danson was even in it at one point? And Elisabeth Shue?? AND Laurence Fishburne!? Where was I for all of this?

Heyyooo forget 911. Somebody call the fire department

So anyways – Ted Danson, Elisabeth Shue and Lawrence Fishburne weren’t around to save CSI: 3 Dimensions Of Murder. Not that it was the casts fault. The voice acting for its time is pretty good. I mean compared to a lot of shit I’ve played it holds up. But the game is just so damn buggy.

Developed by American developer, Telltale Incorporated (known for their licensed game efforts, The Walking Dead arguably being their most notable) and published by Ubisoft it was released for Windows in 2006. Later ported to PS2 on September 25th 2007. Which is probably why the game is so close to being good and falls short.

Telltale surprisingly went defunct in 2018
Chances are if you’ve never heard of Ubisoft you could give a shit about this article in the first place

The writing is good. It has five cases (which seems a bit small but they are pretty dense stories packed with twists like your typical CSI show). The voice acting is solid. Some of the shit the suspects say is hilarious and boss like this prime example of fed-up-with-the-world-biatch:

Grrrrrrrrl power

What’s frustrating about the game is that the only reason is it takes long is the constant load screens. Even for its era – even if it was early PS2 era it would have too much load time. Let alone 2007. The “playable” crime scene areas are super small – and will have a ton of evidence all basically in one place. Which is fine. Being an older gamer I still love point and click exploration.

BUT what sucks you out of the game is that once you collect the evidence you immediately have to go to the lab to analyze your evidence. *Load Screen*. Analyze your evidence. Now you need to question your suspect again. *Load Screen*. Ask one question. Get another piece of evidence. Return to lab. *Load Screen.* Analyze Evidence. Suspicion arises. Need to question suspect more. *Load Screen.* Question suspect. They tell ya to piss off. Now you need a warrant. *Load Screen* interrogating is granted. *Load screen*

I think you get the point. For every hour I play I might actually get about 35 minutes of gameplay in. That’s like fucking college loan interest rate ratio shit. It’s a six hour campaign but with load times you’re looking at sixteen.

So… aside from that… the controls are horrible. You can see a splatter of blood but ya just can’t… nope… little to the left… shit…to the right…fuck… back to the left. Got it. Sure is hard handling a Q-TIP out in the field.

After all of that – if you can get past it – and that’s a legitimate IF – it’s still pretty fun. Just don’t expect to solve any cases in a hurry. – Periwinkle

(DEFINITELY DON’T) PEE IN THE POOL

*Crickets*

Absolutely nothing. Either:

A.) People don’t give a shit about this post (Likely)

B.) Nobody ever played this game (Less likely but still up there)

C.) Both (Most likely)

*Womp – Womp*

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)

5.) Blood of a Backstreet Boy (American Idol)

6.) An impossible to control Q-Tip (CSI)

Follow me on social media if thats your thing: https://linktr.ee/DarkCorners

Definitely not the reason I do this BUT if anything I write brings you joy and you felt like buying me a cup of coffee in return I would appreciate it wholeheartedly. https://ko-fi.com/colinsik

Thank you to The Dame With The Moth Wings for letting me pollute her space and tell Sunny that I already taught one of his precious Chinese crocodiles to play the harmonica.

American Idol: Songs of Sorrow

Being the newest staff member I may have not properly introduced myself or my history to long time readers. There are several unofficial accounts about how and why I ended up on Paradise and this is one of those stories. The following is all true and not based in fantasy or fiction at all.

“You are total rubbish. You’ve made a mockery of the human voice with your tone deaf crooning. Now bugger off.” Almost as soon as I had arrived to perform I was being whisked away by producers and security guards. A woman with a headset and a clipboard had her other hand on my back guiding me through the winding labyrinth of Fox Television studios. Disembodied hands handed me an American Idol water bottle and T-Shirt as they steered me towards a long hallway with a door to the outside already propped open. They said something about me owning none of the intellectual property or my own likeness on the show, pushing me through the fire escape door and closing it behind me. I looked around the back parking lot I was ushered out to with no fanfare. From the front of the building I could still hear tweens screaming for Ryan Seacrest even though he’s like 60 years old now. I could feel the rumble of the bass from inside the building. I looked straight ahead over a chain link fence and saw a Taco Bell. I needed comfort food with no delay. Little did I know that in less than a year I would be in Paradise. At the very least they wouldn’t ask me to sing.

I had tried out for American Idol and became a laughing stock. I had only did it to try to meet Gwen Stefani and realized last second that she is actually on that other singing show. I was destroyed by the judges. My audition video went viral. People threw snowballs and big gulps at me in the streets. Women would point and laugh as I walked past. I had destroyed my own life and it seemed that redemption was an impossible task. So I boarded a raft and set sail to Paradise Island. Where other than the suspicious looks I get from Foovay I am basically left to my own devices.

But one night as I was brewing up another batch of moonshine I like to make with the day’s unused chlorine reserves I heard a knock at the door. Nervous I was caught siphoning chemicals from the resort I peaked out the window slowly… but no one was there. My pet seal (and only friend) Cookie – barked apprehensively. I opened the door looking out into the bush, seemingly set ablaze by the setting sun’s crimson glow.

The porch empty, the twilight quiet with only the hushed sound of waves crashing on the beach. But at my feet lay a sapphire case. With three faces I knew all too well gracing the cover smiling smugly. Paula, Simon and Randy. I may have been done with American Idol but American Idol wasn’t done with me.

American Idol was developed by the now defunct Hot House Creations. Based out of the United Kingdom they were best known for developing the game, Gangsters: Organized Crime.

It was published by Codemasters – who is one of Britain’s oldest video game publishing companies. Mostly known for its racing titles.

The game isn’t really that bad. It’s your typical rhythm and timing game. Press X, O, [] or ^ when it reaches the middle of the screen. Time it to the music and you’ll do fine- press it too early and it’ll sound like Alvin & The Chimpmunks singing.

It’s full of songs that were monster hits back in the early 2000’s. Your typical 90’s boy bands, Britney, Christina. I stuck closer to adult alternative with Sixpence None The Richer and Al Green songs but as I advanced through the rounds it began to feel pretty weightless. The game doesn’t convey the feeling of urgency to perform well or the intoxication of competition. It just sort of feels like you’re pressing buttons listening to a song. Which is exactly what you’re doing, ofcourse. But the game does a poor job at distracting you from that reality.

As I played the game, blasting through each round (it only takes about a half an hour to complete the “career”) I began to sweat a bit. I was playing the game fine, Cookie barking applause after every perfect play through but it’s almost as if I could feel a current pulsing through me. Soon it became too much – it was like a bolt of lightning from the top of my head.

And then all went dark.

“Lord Winkle? Are you quite alright, Lord Winkle?” I opened my eyes and momentarily slunk back into the chair. “It’s me, Lord. You gave me quite a scare. It seems your Family Man Chair gave you a bit of a shock again!” The man dressed as a butler was fanning himself looking deeply relieved.

“My…Family Man Chair…?” I meeked out.

“Yes. The special chair you had NASA construct you to see what your life would have been had you not won American Idol and become the most powerful man on Earth. I believe you named it after the popular Nicolas Cage film, The Family Man.” The butler seemed to sigh and continue on, “Although I don’t know why you must tamper with such things. You do know the next time you use the Family Man Chair it will be the last. You will have to stay there forever and give up all of this” he says with a shrug and a wave around the small room.

“What’s ‘all this’?” I ask gesturing towards the small shed I was in. The butler laughs, “Your memory must be hazy from the chair.” As he opens the door of the shed to reveal a palace made of pure gold. With lush trees and flying limousines hovering over a traditional drive way. The lush green even more eye popping in contrast to the black sky and the Earth as a backdrop.”

“It’s the moon, sir. They built a glass dome around it and gave it to you. Surely you remember. Right after you liberated the North Korean people and secured world peace with your beautiful rendition of, “Love Fool” by The Cardigans?”

Dumbstruck, I find it impossible to answer as I remove the chair helmet and stagger towards the doorway gaping at the Earth in awe. “…The…Moon..?”

“The Moon, Sir. Ever since you performed, “Hit Me Baby One More Time” that fateful September night. You’ve accomplished everything you ever wanted to but unfortunately, I fear, at a great cost.”

“At what cost, do you mean?” I asked bewildered.

The butler frowned and seemed to contemplate his reply.

“ A terminal loneliness, my lord. You’re emotionally damaged. Although you’re physically fulfilled – men and women from both Earth and Mars have been eager to court you – it seems as though you have made a trade off. Despite all of your personal and professional accomplishments a paranoid insecurity has sunk in. You have convinced yourself that you are unloveable and your past experiences have only justified that self prejudice.”

“What do you mean?” Confused and overwhelmed I pleaded. My stomach turning at the stress.

“The last woman you fell for asked you to sing the Batman Forever soundtrack eight times in a row! The one before that? ‘Bye, Bye, Bye’ twelve times. I mean, people love your voice. Not you.”

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo” I scream as I struggle to strap back into the Family Man Chair. “I must go back!”

“Sir, No!” The butler screams trying to unwrangle me from the chair. “You have eliminated world hunger!”

“I don’t care!” I yell flailing, hitting him in the back as he tries to lift me up.

“Lord Winkle. You mustn’t do this! There is world peace now! If you leave all of this will vanish”

“I don’t care! Leave me alone!”

“But they made your rendition of, ‘Genie In A Bottle’ America’s new national anthem!”

“Enough! I’m going back!”

The butler resigns winded. “Fine. If you must go I won’t stop you but I ask one favor of you. Just one.”

As I strap the chairs helmet to my head I give in. “What is it?”

“Before you leave… can you please sing that one Eagle-Eye Cherry song? Please, Lord Winkle. For me.”

I agree to.

“You are total rubbish. You’ve made a mockery of the human voice with your tone deaf crooning. Now bugger off.” As soon as I had arrived to perform I was being whisked away by producers and security guards. A woman with a headset and a clipboard had her other hand on my back guiding me through the winding labyrinth of Fox Television studios. Disembodied hands handed me an American Idol water bottle and T-Shirt as they steered me towards a long hallway with a door to the outside already propped open. They said something about me owning none of the intellectual property or my own likeness on the show, pushing me through the fire escape door and closing it behind me. I looked around the back parking lot I was ushered out to with no fanfare. From the front of the building I could still hear tweens screaming for Ryan Seacrest even though he’s like 60 years old now. I could feel the rumble of the bass from inside the building. I looked straight ahead over a chain link fence and saw a Taco Bell. I needed comfort food with no delay. Little did I know that in less than a year I would be in Paradise. At the very least they wouldn’t ask me to sing.

(DEFINITELY DON’T) PEE IN THE POOL*

The usual culprits had something to say about the game via Twitter

* I was served a seize and desist order for encouraging others to “pee in the pool”.

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)

5.) Blood of a Backstreet Boy (American Idol)

All Vroom And No Boom Makes Periwinkle A Dull Boy.

The pool remains unskimmed. Banana leafs float around aimlessly in the usually meticulous reserve. The brush and lawn overgrown. Visitors have even reported a man late at night somewhere on the edges of the island, arms outstretched in front of him, knees bent as if he were sitting on a bike making guttural puttering noises, only interrupted when he begins bending his right wrists and wailing, “VROOM VROOM” at onlookers while slowly plodding along knees bent and arms still out.

SUNDAY

It all began weeks ago when doing my usual rounds on the beach. A walk on a warm, windy night when suddenly my eyes were averted towards the dark shore amid a thunderous boom. A storm rolling in off the coast I mused, as the wind swept through my hair, nearly blinding me with loose sand. I held my arm over my eyes trying to get a better glimpse at the orbs of light racing towards me from the shore. This was no ship. It was moving too fast. It was too loud. I looked to my left and then to my right to see if anyone else was around to witness this vulgar display of force. But I realized I was alone. But I wouldn’t be for long.

As the lights and roaring thunder neared I realized it was no storm. No angry maiden of the high seas, no sea monster nor ghost ship. It was a motorcycle. An American Chopper. Treading on the surface of the ocean like Jesus on steel wheels.

Upon my horrific realization I spun around and began running back towards the resort but the Chopper ran ashore too fast, leaving pure glass tire trails on the beach sand in its wake. Knowing it was no use I turned around to confront my faceless enemy as the phantom cycle drove right through me and disappeared. Leaving only a copy of American Chopper still warm in my hands. Singed on the edges. Both Paul Teutal and his son Paulie’s faces beckoning me to begin my career as a motorcycle designer.

For the first time in my life I hadn’t chose a game.

It chose me.

MONDAY

American Chopper for the PlayStation 2 was released on June 15th 2006. Developed by Creat Studios based out of St. Petersburg and Published by Activision.

The game itself is based on the popular reality tv series, American Chopper created by The Discovery Channel. American Chopper followed a custom motor cycle shop that was run by a father-son team (Paul and Paul Jr. Teutul) in the early 2000’s. They had gained national recognition for their skillfully crafted custom motorcycles and were also reality tv darlings for their constant father/son power struggles and explosive arguments over creative direction.

While the show was a critical and commercial success for a majority of its television run little can be said about the brands misadventures in the video game industry.

American Chopper is the bastard child of some board room hack that honestly should be put in prison.

The games plot begins with you being the new hire at OCC. Being low man on the totem pole you are required to do everything both Paulie and his father ask of you. The voice acting even though done by the real Teutals is painfully sad to hear. I have never heard more unenthused men play themselves in a video game. It’s almost as if they had played the game before they did the voice acting for it and were ashamed to be associated with this crime against humanity.

As the plot moves forward you go from mundane tasks like picking up spare parts for their bikes to basically motorcycle warfare with rival biker gangs. Even after all of this – pushing and kicking other bikers head on into the paths of Semi Trucks and murdering everything in your site upon completion of the mission you are generally only greeted by a small cut scene of Paul Sr still being disappointed with you.

I could be facing back to back life sentences for the things you people have ordered me to do. The least you could do is be nice to me.

Yup. That bad.

More frustrating than the lack of recognition or approval from your employers is the general control scheme as a whole. I have never rode a chopper. Or any large motorcycle for that matter. But I can safely assume that the turn radius of any sort of motorcycle is better than say I don’t know THE TITANIC? The bike handling is so ridiculous that it feels as if you’re trying to navigate a freighter through narrow city streets at stupid speeds. Almost every mission is timed and the learning curve is brutal.

One mission is particularly devastating as it requires near perfection at high speeds for a really long stretch of time. Slipping and sliding in between traffic, hard curves, and friendly bikers that constantly crash into you (which is held against you) – the mission itself has you white knuckling your controller for nearly 15 minutes straight. And it was then, friends that your boy, Periwinkle had reached a revelation.

TUESDAY

All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy.

WEDNESDAY

Has it been days? Weeks? A feverish trance. At some point while playing the unbelievably redundant game it hit me. The pattern. Go to the motorcycle shop. Get yelled at. Get told what to do. Do it. Go to the motorcycle shop. Get yelled at. Get told what to do and do it again. Over and over. I began looking up to the Tuetals. Was I a Tuetal? Is Paul Sr. My dad? Handlebar mustaches are pretty cool.

THURSDAY

I am not a Tuetal. I am something more. I am a motorcycle.

FRIDAY

Like a dream upon wakening. Before I open my eyes I lay silently with my eyes closed. I can sense someone around me watching. I hear the waves crashing on the shore. I feel the warm sun beating on me and someone ask aloud, “Is he going to be okay?”

I open my eyes. Resort visitors surround me looking stunned and relieved. A doctor is kneeling next to me his back turned rummaging through his physician bag. I ask him weakly what happened to me? He turns to face me. It’s a motor cycle in a doctors coat.

SATURDAY

I watch the screen as the credits roll and enjoy the only good part of the game. A Thornley song. (Shoooout ouuut to the Canadian readers. Big Wreck fan for life). I haven’t showered or ate in a week. I’ve lost weight. A weak five o’ clock shadow barely and the smell of piss. I must have soiled myself. I eject the disc and shut the PlayStation off. It is a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon on Paradise. The monster slayed – the hex broken- the trance lifted. I place the cursed disc back in its case (still hot to the touch) and I make my way back to the beach where it all began.

I stand at the edge of the water looking into a seemingly endless blue. I toss the case back into the ocean as the water sizzles. A strong gust of air blows off the ocean through my hair. I smile. – Periwinkle

PEE IN THE POOL

It was hard to find anyone that had actually *Played* the game itself but it almost universally was assumed it was terrible. Here are some interactions from my boy, Kyle, Pinkie trying to defend the motorcycle game genre, and me trying to save Heather’s fiancé from a similar fate that found me.

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients (In order of how enjoyable.)

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)

Dear Periwinkle! The manager would like to remind you to please not encourage guests to play in the pool? Perhaps create a Hot-Takes-Tub instead?! Sunny will be asked to clean the mess while you recover from the Vroooms! Much love from Manager San!

I didn’t create the Reservoir Dogs game, I’m just dealin’ with it!

Most days on Paradise are quiet. Still relatively new to the island I try to stay out of the coconut’s and other staffers way just diligently cleaning out the pool, occasionally chasing Pinkie away from the staff laundry I just folded and barbecuing behind the small maintenance shed I call home. During the lull of the winter months, I’ve noticed the tourist traffic slow and with the extra time I like to spend quiet nights watching whatever DVDs wash ashore.

The other morning as I was walking about the beach planning my nightly maintenance routine I saw a familiar and beloved DVD case laying in the sand. I rushed over to it, gleefully. Filled with warmth and joy at the sight of one of my favorite movies. I began to clear the sand off the cover and realized it wasn’t what I thought it was.

It was Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic, Reservoir Dogs. For the PlayStation 2.

Developed by Volatile Games, a division of now defunct British developer Blitz Games Studio Limited – most known for their work on other licensed titles like: The Fairly Oddparents, Bratz and Spongebob and other sacks of shit that I’m sure will make its way into my crosshairs at some point.

Published by the quality publisher Eidos Interactive (who have since been taken over by Square Enix) The publisher is well known for their Tomb Raider series.

First things fuckin’ last.

The obvious cash grab doesn’t piss me off much – that is the nature of the beast. It’s not unlike Hollywood these days remaking classic films that never needed a remake in the first place. Rereleasing a movie with a new cast instead of ever actually giving fresh, younger writers a chance to show the world their stories. Hollywood feels that the world doesn’t need a new Charlie Kaufman. It needs a remake of Pride And Prejudice starring The Rock or something.

The abhorrent targeting system doesn’t bother me much considering I’ve lived on PS2 planet for quite awhile now and have fully disconnected from the much smoother controls of more modern consoles and games. So I can handle bad third person shooter targeting systems. I grew up with them. They practically raised me. It’s like that meme about some shithead witch telling a lion about magic and then the old magic lion saying something about he was there when it was written. Was that a Narnia meme? I thought I had it around here, somewhere. Anyways, thats like my usual work day – working with a bunch of strapping young lads and ladies fresh out of high school with their whole lives ahead of them and then theres me … an old, miserable magic lion…alas… where was I?

Ah there it is.

It only pisses me off a little that if you happened to never see the movie before playing the game you’d have no fucking idea what’s going on. Considering it offers little to no backstory and just assumes that everyone in the world has already seen the movie. Even as you play through the movie plot the unbelievably bad voice re-enacting iconic scenes is even more distracting than the poorly drawn characters that look nothing like the regular actors.

Generally the story consists of a 44 second clip of a massive plot point that isn’t elaborated on at all – using the incredibly small story window between playable chapters to only mimic legendary scenes from the film. On top of all of this Mr. White’s character is voice acted by that dude that played the fire chief in the Denis Leary show, “Rescue Me”. And once I placed it I just couldn’t not hear it.

This guy.

Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy? Or are you gonna bite?

So alright, I’ll cut to the chase. The thing that pissed me off most about this game? The story can be completed in about three hours. That drives me bananas. Imagine it’s 2006 and you just paid $55 for this game brand new and finished it within three or fours? I hate that shit.

Rule number one about making a video game based on a movie. Make it at least two hours longer than the movie itself you, morons.

Alright so with that off my chest the good part about this game? Is the Tarantino soundtrack. Some classic gems per usual. One I will showcase a little bit later on. The game has a really simple play style meter – between professional and psychopath. The more violent you are the more psychotic your rating and that can alter the ending a bit.

Ultimately the game destroys all of the glorious subtleties of the film and just turns it into a run and gun blood bath that is short, repetitive and exploitive.

Pee In The Pool

So of course – begging the outside world for attention and interaction has essentially failed yet again (even though I stubbornly refuse to give up) I did receive a little feed back on a poll I asked the harsh, cruelly tight lipped internet.

While I also got sympathy love from Kuro and Pinkie as per usual. 😂

All in all the worst game I have played for the blog so far, a game that lacks any sort of charm, thoughtfulness or respect for its original creator and rabid fan base. – Periwinkle.

Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients (In order of how enjoyable.)

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

Introducing Periwinkle the Poolboy: Cold Winter

Hello guys I am Periwinkle! A new STAFF Member! I am the Poolboy on Paradise Island! I was really eager to get started. So instead of letting the manager introduce me I will introduce myself. Occasionally when I’m not busy skimming the pool, watching from afar as everyone else has fun and socializes at the tiki bar I go off into my little shed and play twenty year old video games. On some special nights when all the chlorine has been dutifully poured and the pool filters hum majestically free of any rogue speedo bottoms I will write about the games I play and what secret wisdom they hold. 

In this post we cover the 2005 first person shooter and delve into spy stereotypes. 

Cold Winter is a 2005 first person shooter developed by Swordfish Studios and published by Vivendi Universal Games for the PlayStation 2.

Swordfish Studios was a British based video game developer best known for the game, World Championship Rugby. They would later be acquired by Vivendi Universal Games (who also published Cold Winter)

Vivendi was the publisher of the legendary, Half Life 2 and later merged with Activision creating the well known publisher, Activision Blizzard. 

Cold Winter despite its unbelievably lame name is a delight. The best James Bond game that James Bond isn’t in on the PlayStation 2. Your main character is disavowed MI6 spy, Andrew Sterling. You are being held prisoner in a Chinese prison when you are saved by another agent for another spy syndicate that (OFCOURSE 🙄) needs your services. 

My biggest gripe with this game is not its ten-years-too-late-brit-rave-scene soundtrack. It’s not it’s R3 to zoom controls (which is a minor pain in the ass) or it’s over-the-top limb and decapitation physics that are so ridiculous you have to laugh. 

The largest problem I have with the game is it’s over used “Spy gets disavowed/goes rogue” trope. Used over and over again in nearly every major spy movie I’ve ever seen. Being born in the west during the Cold War, I have watched a fuck ton of James Bond and other spy films. All of them feature the rogue agent plot. ALL.OF.THEM. They also all feature the more fun typical espionage cliches and stereotypes engrained in me so deeply now I will never be able to unlearn them. 

Like for example: Every western spy is a perfect shot, wears a tuxedo, USES HIS REAL NAME, **probably** has a drinking problem (??) and can and will seduce everyone in the room. 

On the flip side of the coin every stereotype for counter intelligence is generally: unbelievably stunning Soviet femme fatale that is just as dangerous as she is sultry OR scarred up giant guy henchmen protecting Elon Musk style weirdos. 

As far as stereotypes are concerned these are all pretty good. But are they true? I have no idea. I don’t know any spies and if I did they would be horrible at their jobs…because…well, they’re spies. 

So… luckily for us, dear reader, there is a wealth of education and wisdom at our fingertips. Historians that have dedicated their entire lives to document every move of shadowy figures throughout history all to be used in a blog post about the 2005 video game, Cold Winter. It’s all come down to this, folks. 

Here are some famous spies from Historylists.org

Sidney Reilley

Sidney Reilley or the, “Gentleman Spy” was said to inspire Ian Fleming for his character, James Bond. Known to live an extravagant lifestyle he was eventually caught by the Soviet regime and executed. Sounds like this guy invented the spy stereotype.

Mata Hari

A Dutch exotic dancer and suspected German spy during World War 1. She was ultimately exposed by the French and executed by firing squad in Paris. Later on evidence would suggest that Mata Hari was actually more of a double agent playing both sides. She was 41. Beautiful, dangerous, exotic. Boom. Spy stereotype confirmed. 

Now I could see you start to say, “Well, Periwinkle… That was only two spies from one website. You are horrible at research and you have wasted everyones time.” And yeah – I’d have to agree with you. I’m not a good researcher and chances are this article did waste your time. BUT have we not learned something today?

1.) Don’t be a spy – you’ll probably die. 

Go dust off your ps2 and pick up Cold Winter. It’s a fun, well crafted game. Above average for sure. Unlike my writing. – Periwinkle