First off, how about a high five to a Mr. MikeNGary? Or wait, is it two gentlemen: Mike and Gary? Either way, he/they have put together a pretty awesome, live action Half-Life/Portal dating redux that highlights one of the oddest elements of gaming still around today: mute characters. As a huge Half-Life fan, I have to get my obligatory, “WHERE IS HALF-LIFE 3?”, post out of the way, so there you go Valve. Make it happen. Where were we? Oh yeah, mute video game characters. Gordon Freeman and Chell are two of many, many video game main characters that were programmed without a voice, maybe to save disc space, possibly out of boredom, or maybe just as a proverbial middle finger to all of our imaginations; who knows outside of the developers? I think the starkest example I can think of from my recent gaming memory is Dragon Age: Origins; I usually don’t have an issue with mute main characters, but that was just super weird. I know I’m not alone with that one.
After moving down to Houston, TX, this past Fall, I have already bought a bad ass pair of cowboy boots, and even witnessed (no, experienced) my first rodeo, to include an entertaining round of Mutton Bustin‘. I also managed to somehow survive the epic Houston DMV (that’s what we Illinoisans call it); let’s just say that if moving to Houston was a video game, the DMV would be the final boss. No joke. What I have yet to experience however is a massive event that takes place just two and a half hours to my west in Austin, TX, otherwise known as SXSW, or South by Southwest for my acronym haters out there. Originally starting as a ginormous music festival, SXSW has now morphed into something bigger with film, gaming, and technology industries setting up shop. The festival almost always produces a good time, whether you’re lucky enough to attend in person (they do serve beer there), or virtually through the via this fine tool we call the Interweb. The festivities also produce headlines, as gaming companies and tech startups like to either announce new shit, or simply stir the proverbial pot. Enter Michael Pachter, who works as a research analyst at Wedbush Securities, who just recently dropped a price point nuclear bomb that has reverberated off the gaming industry’s online message boards like a pin ball.