#25 Caravan Shooting Collection (SNES)
Caravanning - this is a pastime in the UK that gets a lot of flak. People towing mobile homes behind their cars means they have a reduced max speed limit and given the slow speed and lack of visibility to the driver behind, is a source of some ire on UK roads. Perhaps some UK readers think this is a game produced to relieve the stress of encountering a caravan on the roads by allowing players to blast them off the road - sadly that is not the case.
Let me take you to Japan in the mid-80s when the Famicom/NES ruled the video-game world. At this time, Hudsonsoft were releasing some 2D shmups for the NES and part of the marketing effort was some sort of road show where temporary game-fests were set up around the country and video game competitions were ran with the highest score on the latest Hudson shmup for the NES being the aim. This seemed to be quite a phenomenon in Japan and ran for several years. It gave birth to the idea of caravan modes in some shmups - which is a quick 2 or 5 minute score attack mode which is a featured mode of lots of shmups released in later years.
You may remember a review I posted a few weeks about Unit Operations, an academic book on videogames by Ian Bogost. That book, while certainly useful and insightful, is probably of interest primarily to game studies scholars. His newer book, Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, seems destined for a larger audience. It's a very good book with great insights and plenty of examples, especially for fans of retro and homebrew for the Atari 2600 and other early platforms. See below for my detailed review.
I just finished reading Ian Bogost's book Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, a book that is probably already considered a foundational work for game studies. The book is clearly written for professional academics steeped in literary theory and with some smattering of reading in computer science, philosophy, and other fields. I can't tell if his tongue is in his cheek or not when he writes in the preface, "Jargon and obfuscation is a way of laying groundwork for novel production" and that his theory, like any other, "can't be obvious" (ii). However, there are plenty of kernels of interest to anyone with a serious interest in understanding games and, perhaps more importantly, the role they play and can play in our society and culture. In this review, I'll try to break down the book's key ideas.