James M. Potter

writings on music, games, and culture

Month: April, 2013

In honour of the HD remake, a Final Fantasy X audio mash-up

It’s good news that Final Fantasy X is getting an HD makeover. It’s good news because another generation will get to experience one of the series’ most cohesive and beautifully-made entries, and it’s going to be all glammed-up for the HD TVs and whatnot. I sank many hours into it when it first came out, and since then I’ve regarded it as particularly unified in terms of art design – and that extends to sound as well. After the jump is something that illustrates that quite neatly (or if not, is just quite fun). Read the rest of this entry »

What does it look like inside a synthesiser? Like ‘Fract’, I hope

Shooters and adventure games are one thing, but sometimes all you want to do is wander around inside a synthesiser solving puzzles. At least, the creators of Fract OSC have taken this view, choosing to immerse the player of their new game in a first-person, psychedelic world filled with strange sound-machines. Sort of like Fantastic Voyage, but set in the brain of Jean Michel Jarre. Read the rest of this entry »

Experiencing Animus – is Assassin’s Creed’s frame really necessary?

You’re an assassin. Whether it’s historical Constantinople, Florence, Rome, or wherever, you’re parkour-ing from rooftop to rooftop, dispatching guards with gruesome ease and generally having fun immersing yourself in a lavish recreation of a sun-baked Mediterranean city. You have awesome blade-things attached to your wrists. You even have a cool name, like Altair or Ezio Auditore. But just hold on! No, you’re not! You’re actually some schlubby guy from the present day! Your name is Desmond! Forget riding around on a horse killing baddies, we’re going to pull you out for a few minutes to do some platforming and give you some exposition. Sigh.

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Jedi Outcast, or, Why Licensed Music Isn’t Always a Good Idea

Jedi Outcast (or to give it its full, ponderous title, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast) is enjoying a little nostalgic attention this week, with the sad news that publisher LucasArts is closing its doors, causing magnanimous developers Raven to release the source code for the game. People have been rightly praising how much Raven got right with JK2 – the lightsaber combat was satisfying (not an easy thing to achieve), the level design was pretty good, and the storyline didn’t jump the shark. Being a product of that golden sequence of Quake III-engine games, it was endlessly mod-able to boot. I and many others were tinkering with it for a long time after it came out (and with the source code now floating around, it might be here a while longer). It wasn’t perfect though, and what this week’s news also reminded me of was one of the first things I did to the game when I got my hands on Pakscape – I changed the music.  Read the rest of this entry »