Thanks to the Steam Summer Sale, I finally got to play Spec Ops: The Line, the 2012 takedown of the military shooter genre. There's a reason it's now the shortest script on the blog, and it's not that I needed a breather after writing the longest. Spec Ops: The Line is anything but a breather and finding a workable angle for its Short Script proved to be quite a challenge.
I regret the fact that I was already aware of the game's nature when I started playing it. Spec Ops: The Line ostensibly presents itself as just another entry in the instantly familiar military shooter genre. It starts out as you would expect and even the marketing campaign went out of its way to belie its true intention, which is to violently deconstruct the entire genre. It's a brilliant way to align the player's expectations with that of the game's protagonist, Captain Martin Walker. They both wade in fists first, thinking they can be the hero by killing anyone who isn't them. The player's experience of the game mirrors Walker's journey as he slowly comes to terms with the fact that everything he takes for granted is being called into question.
After finishing Spec Ops: The Line, I treated myself to Brendan Keogh's long-form critical reading of the game. It really is a great read and makes me wish there were more such pieces that focus on how a single game was experienced by a single person. Oh, but what's this? Robert Yang is working on exactly that for Half-Life? Yes please.
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