Saturday, 22 October 2011

Groping and Touching

Our father, Tom Brindle, was phone hacking before it was cool. 2004’s round of birthdays saw each brother stunned by his uncharacteristic generosity as mobile after swanky mobile was torn free of its wrapping. What we didn’t know then is that Bells’s first words down the wire were a summoning spell*, and that the ghosts of every conversation ever transmitted over the US telephone network still circulate through its byways. With a raft of occult paraphernalia, plus Captain Crunch whistles and several thick volumes of default PIN numbers, our father intercepted our voicemail and browsed our texts. Intelligence gleaned would then appear in a home-printed tabloid newspaper offering such scoops as

Stuttering son spurned by phone-line sexpot

Black sheep of the family confesses homosexual desires

So you can understand if I am sometimes nervous about phones. That goes double one that’s ‘smart’ (what if it learns to open doors?). But the world drives us whichever way it will and now I am the terrified owner of a not-quite-brand-new HTC Wildfire S. What intrigues me, despite my trepidation, is the leaf the Android developers have taken from the book of videogames (Biblical apocrypha removed in favour of Deuteronomy over fears it would have a bad influence on teenagers).

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Where the Line Leads

I need you / I don’t need you / and all of that jiving around

It is in the nature of Brindles to return to the scene of a crime long after everybody else has been allowed the mercy of forgetting. Since a similar impulse is clearly afflicting this blog  (Left 4 Dead? The Marriage? In 2011?), let us go stubbornly and grudgingly back to examine a year-old minor furore. Shortly after the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops, a fellow called Bungle put out a video of him playing through the first two levels without firing a shot.

For detractors, Bungle’s video offers the grim spectacle of the linear manshoot genre’s design principles enacted as full-on farce. On Hardened difficulty he is able to stand around like a lemon admiring the idle animations on his gun while AI companions blitz through the enemy before him. He does this from cover, in the open, and in slow motion. He runs through a field of harmless explosions and, as a culmination, sits in the back of a plane twiddling his thumbs over the firing studs of a machinegun as enemies queue up outside to spray blanks at him. As it turns out, he’s been rendered invincible for the sequence. It seems like the player has finally become irrelevant to the proceedings.