299: The Bolshevik in the Borderlands

Jonas Kyratzes

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Dec 12, 2010
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The Bolshevik in the Borderlands

"Mainstream" games can be popular, profitable - and pretty damn brilliant. Maybe it's time you let yourself enjoy them.

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IAmTheVoid

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Apr 26, 2009
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Now I feel really stupid for not looking into the visual cues of Borderlands more deeply. Initially I thought "Huh, okay. He's looked into this waaay too much". But I thought about it, and... well... you're right. I do wish they could've brought story more to the fore, but it would've clashed with the gameplay (much like Bulletstorm's serious moments, for example, are mixed in with the comedic gameplay and other comedic elements).

As for Tannis, I always was deeply moved by her journals. They're funny, but it's black humour. You're essentially laughing at somebody losing their mind, and it's unpleasant when you think too much about it.
 

Vault101

I'm in your mind fuzz
Sep 26, 2010
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Looking back I kinda like borderlands

But I just foudn the shallow NPC interation off putting plus its a little bland in single player

but I did love the world and the charachters
 

Dastardly

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Apr 19, 2010
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Jonas Kyratzes said:
The Bolshevik in the Borderlands

"Mainstream" games can be popular, profitable - and pretty damn brilliant. Maybe it's time you let yourself enjoy them.

Read Full Article
Ah, yes, the old "if people like it, it can't be good," chestnut. I appreciate hearing an indie developer speak up against it.

It's the same old thing that's been happening in the music scene since forever: a no-name band is loved by local fans, makes it big, and the fans abandon them as "sell-outs." The elitist fan that punishes the success of the band.

A game like Borderlands actually does a better job of conveying its art than many "artsy" games, as is the case with many movies. It puts the art there and allows you to find it, if you're looking... but it doesn't beat you in the face with it. There's an age-old idea that those who truly have power don't have to prove it. I think the same is true for artistic merit.
 

Celtic_Kerr

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Interesting to hear an anarcho-communist's look on things. They don't get sucked in from the mainstream vibe, but at the same time they see no harm in liking it, as long as you aren't doing so just because the corporation tells you to. Such an interesting look on life...

I've always loved borderlands. I remember seeing the huge bones and thinking "I glad THAT thing is already dead..."
 

LiftYourSkinnyFists

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Jonas Kyratzes said:
The Bolshevik in the Borderlands

"Mainstream" games can be popular, profitable - and pretty damn brilliant. Maybe it's time you let yourself enjoy them.

Read Full Article
Four pages of pure pretentiousness, I'd say I admire you but there was just too much of it to find it funny.
 

steeple

Death by tray it shall be
Dec 2, 2008
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I should realy finish this game someday....
I did like the game, dont get me wrong, but I never saw any depth in the game other then the gameplay itself (lets exclude tannis, since her audiologs were golden in so many ways)

Im glad to see that I missed things about the narrative, but I still feel like they could (and maybe should) have given more thought into the story and characters...
 

GrizzlerBorno

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You sir, are preaching to the choir. I never played Borderlands, so I cannot personally comment on it's artistic merit.
However I will say that, you of all people should know that Art is entirely subjective. If you see Borderlands as a Masterpiece, good for you. But, in my honest experience, it is a complete and utter waste of time to tell people "What they Should and Should not consider Art."

It's as Flemeth from Dragon Age: Origins said "We Believe what we want to Believe. It's ALL we EVER do."
 

Scorched_Cascade

Innocence proves nothing
Sep 26, 2008
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I love the self-deprecating humour in this article.

In the audio logs Tannis is hinted to be the reason that your character is actually on Pandora and she is by far my favourite (second only to Dr Ned) character.

Her logs really give you an insight into what life is like on Pandora as she is slowly driven more and more insane through boredom, loneliness and the spooky environment. Her voice gets slowly more manic and faster in speed as the logs progress, subtly at first till day 653 when it is rapid fire lunacy.

After listening to her logs I took a closer look at most of the other NPCs and realised that most of them are insane to varying degrees. You character is implied to be insane too.
Bear in mind she is killing people in fairly brutal ways (0.40-1.20)

Tannis' Audio logs are here in full:
She has quite a few "Wait, what?" moments where she is bordering on sanity and then does something completely off the wall.
 

SamElliot'sMustache

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Oct 5, 2009
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I didn't really like Borderlands all that much, mostly because I got bored with how the gameplay quickly became routine, but I did appreciate it on an aesthetic level, and this article furthered that for me. The dusty wastes, twangy guitar notes, and those remains of civilizations both ancient and recent really do paint a picture of a world that deserves another look, but if Gearbox were to do a sequel or spinoff or whatever, then they really need to pump a little bit more life into it. I'm not referring to NPC interaction, though that would have been a bonus, but more variety to the missions, and at least show people who are not quest-givers, to give the world a bit more flavor (like that starting town that only has one guy, where was everyone else?).

Also: loved the alliterative title. Nice touch.
 

Pontus Hashis

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Feb 22, 2010
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The best part of borderlands was the back story, however in the game, everything was so bland and grindy that i got sick of it. But I do want a new one, but it needs to give more wieght to the story!
 

Lord Legion

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Feb 26, 2010
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I love Borderlands...I still play it religiously, so I might be a little skewed.

One thing that kind of bugged me though were all the criticisms that the world wasn't too involving (ie, the NPC's, town areas, socio-economic whathaveyou) BUT I felt that was the point, your not Gordon Freeman out to save the people, your an asshole treasure hunter/mercenary. You don't give a damn about any of them, even less their problems.
 

Dhatz

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quality is not measures in money or success, finally some contributor who knows it and is able to face the facts that usually those follow as well.
 

rembrandtqeinstein

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It is possible to have good mainstream games. But most are like god of war 3, pretty screenshots to sell copies, and fluff for gameplay.

When it comes down to it your article is saying that great mainstream games are made IN SPITE of the whole "industry" process and not because of it.

Fallout 3 was a decent game that where going "mainstream" removed much of what made the originals special. Whereas the campyness in F2 was there to contrast the darkness of the post nuclear setting in F3 the campyness was the setting itself.

STALKER is one of my favorite games and it had a 10 year development cycle where it was obviously a labor of love and not built with commerce in mind.
 

Siege_TF

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May 9, 2010
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I wondered why I enjoyed playing Borderlands, then I realized it was like FFXI, except Borderlands is less tedious because it doesn't fluff itself out with unreasonable travel time.
 

Mantonio

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Apr 15, 2009
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But the mainstream games industry has produced some truly, truly great games.
Wow, that really called for a 'There, I said it'!

Who knows what will happen to you now you've expressed that Iincredibly unique and individual opinion!

This has truly never been said or believed before!
 

Trent_Steel

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Feb 9, 2011
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Alongside InFamous, I cite Borderlands as the poster boy for everything that has went wrong with videogame design since 2006.

One man's shit is another man's chocolate I guess.
 

Hyper-space

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Nov 25, 2008
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Great article, if a bit obvious (not the Borderlands part, but the point about the mainstream).

But anarcho-communist? in what universe would this ever work? thats like saying you are a pipe-dreamer.
 

Azaraxzealot

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Dec 1, 2009
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Trent_Steel said:
Alongside InFamous, I cite Borderlands as the poster boy for everything that has went wrong with videogame design since 2006.

One man's shit is another man's chocolate I guess.
inFamous is still more fun than games like

Your Grandmother Is Depressing or Pointless Anxiety 2: The Return of the Big Sad
and if a game fails to be fun then it has failed to be a game.

this is something the AAA ALMOST ALWAYS gets right

seems that a lot of articles this week are basically provoking the escapist community at large what with the "You Wish You Were Casual" article and this article
 

RA92

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Azaraxzealot said:
inFamous is still more fun than games like

Your Grandmother Is Depressing or Pointless Anxiety 2: The Return of the Big Sad
this is something the AAA ALMOST ALWAYS gets right

and if a game fails to be fun then it has failed to be a game.

seems that a lot of articles this week are basically provoking the escapist community at large what with the "You Wish You Were Casual" article and this article
This is provoking in what sense...? He made the joke 'Pointless Anxiety 2: The Return of the Big Sad' at the expense of the 'pretentious' indie developers (like himself), and then went forward to praise the level designing, environmental story-telling and fun combat of a AAA title. He's even championing the 'fun' part by saying that art and fun aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

Talk about something going 'whoosh' over your head... -_-