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    « Eleven Minutes to Hold You Over Until All Shadows Day | Main | Weekend Time Killers »

    Dude, Where's My F-22 Raptor?

    Written by contributing author Mark Hagan

    Let me preface, I don’t just drink the Rockstar kool-aid, I wring it from my grape stained T-shirt so as not to miss a drop. Before Grand Theft Auto 3 decided to release its soundtrack on CD, a buddy and I hooked up a Playstation 2 in his car to listen to the radio stations in game via FM transmitter. Geek tendencies are sometimes late to bloom.

    With the success of Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar not only managed to redefine the sandbox archetypes of old, but resurrected a genre in the meantime. Being brought up on a steady diet of John Wayne, Kevin Costner and Jimmy Stewart, aside from my cannibalistic tendencies, I have always dreamt of roaming the open prairie with steed underneath and breeze in my face. GUN was a solid offering when the Xbox 360 launched, but its limited scope failed to capture the vastness of characters and landscapes so often found in the old West. Fantasies aside however, Rockstar made the Western "cool" once more.

    Could Rockstar administer the Lazarus treatment elsewhere? (Ping Pong is not a genre by the way, but everyone deserves a mulligan.) Man has always, and will always, dream of flight. However this genre, more than any, is on life support. Its pedigree is impressive though: Space Invaders, Star Fox, Rogue Leader, Crimson Skies, and to some degree, IL-2 Sturmovik. The problem is, almost all of these games are nearly a decade old! Ace Combat, as one of the benchmarks, is a visual marvel, but lacks personality. In fact, the only flight game to score above a 9 on IGN in the last 6 years is the Xbox Arcade offering Snoopy: Flying Ace. Gangsta, it is not.

    Rockstar on the other hand could inject new life to this rigor mortis afflicted genre. Ask yourself, as soon as you popped in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, with the printout of cheats by your side, what was at the top of your list? Get to the chopper! We know they can do it, even when they aren’t trying! I spent countless hours perfecting the touch-n-go at Francis International in my precious Dodo.

    Imagine the social commentary Rockstar is known for, fused with outlandish characters (Hughes), incredible adventures (Earhart), infinite destinations (the freakin’ Moonallegedly), and the spectrum of aircraft (see destinations). These elements mixed into a historical romp of the birth of aviation to the present day. Hell, even pre-birth with Da Vinci’s flying machines, and travel straight through to.. After-birth? Yeah, we’ll go with that imagery. Rockstar can get away with it, and if it is Rockstar, one thing is certain, it would be done right.

    Mark has been gaming since the days of the Atari 5200 and such classics as Dig Dug and Eggomania. The Dreamcast was a turning point for him with games like Seaman and Jet Set Radio. His love of gadgets, games and geekery stems from his curiosity of innovation through art, and vice versa. His turn-ons include the sound of cellophane wrappers and warm sake in the morning.

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