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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Column: The Aggie Arcade

Game of the week

This week saw more than one noteworthy video game release, but strategy fans and nostalgic gamers will be paying the most attention to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Developer Firaxis Games, the creative team behind the Civilization franchise, has crafted a loving recreation of the famed 1994 PC classic X-COM: UFO Defense.

The familiar alien armadas and turn-based missions are still present, but there’s enough of a modern touch to appeal to a brand new audience. The real strength behind the experience lies in its emphasis on consequence. If a soldier dies in battle, they’re gone forever.

If a country’s panic level rises, it pulls out of the XCOM project completely and leaves players with no support. If too many countries are lost, it’s game over. These are the kinds of penalties few games prescribe upon a player, but it’s less a case of masochism and more an encouragement of careful planning and thoughtful execution.

Having played the game for a few hours, I can safely say the tension level skyrockets in a short period of time — what else would you expect from a challenging strategy game?

This week in news

Actor Jerry Lambert has slowly become a recognizable video game name in recent years, portraying the fictional marketing character Kevin Butler in Sony’s commercials for the PlayStation 3. Considering his allegiance to all things Sony, I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw him playing a Nintendo Wii in a recent Bridgestone Tire commercial. Apparently Sony didn’t find it funny though, leading the company to sue both Bridgestone and Lambert.

Now Bridgestone has responded, claiming that the character of Kevin Butler doesn’t appear in the commercial, which in turn relieves them of any wrongdoing. Sony has until this Friday to withdraw the lawsuit.

ANTHONY LABELLA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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