Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.
1994 saw a great disturbance in computer games, as if thousands of geeks suddenly cried out in disappointment and then fell silent – most likely because their Avatar had just failed to successfully jump from one small rock to another. Back then, reloading a save game wasn’t just a matter of seconds: it was a commitment, and the more time you’d already sunk into a game like Ultima VIII, the less likely you were to stop playing, especially if you’d paid close to a hundred dollars, and doubly so if you were a fan of the Ultima series of computer role-playing games. This week, Eric wrote about his memories of his first big computer game disappointment, and it is a pain that many fellow geeks felt at the time.
This was before computer games received trailers, so instead, let’s start this week’s post with the trailer issued for its sequel, and the final single-player Ultima game – which (wait for it) turned out to be even worse in some ways. But hey, at least it wasn’t quite as much of an active exercise in masochism!
We followed up with the latest podcast episode, in which Matt, Julie and this month’s guest Laura Binz discussed war movies, focusing on the 1992 Academy Award winner Mediterraneo, a war movie in which the war is conspicuously absent.
But obviously we’re not just watching trailers for oldish games and oldish films – there’s also newer fare. Watch if you dare!
Matt: Okay, let’s end on something that’s easier to embrace than the latest instance of perfunctory IP masturbation and that brings us back to the computer role-playing game theme we started this post off with. In 2019, developer ZA/UM released Disco Elysium, a game that was at once strange, funny, heartbreaking, smart, political, and oh, did I mention strange? If anyone had told me that the best-written, wittiest, most consistently fascinating RPG of its generation would come from a first-time Estonian developer, I would’ve suspected some odd April’s Fool’s Joke – but no, Disco Elysium was the real deal. And this may just be the best time to visit that sad, doomed, beautiful post-revolutionary world and try to solve the mystery of the dead guy hanging from the tree in the backyard of the hostel cafeteria where you wake up to find that you haven’t got the faintest clue who you are. This week ZA/UM released the game’s Final Cut version, which includes fully voiced dialogues, new storylines – and more of that ornate and delicious writing. Be warned, though: at times Disco Elysium makes the thick novels of China Miéville feel like Raymond Carver’s short stories.