Blog: 2015

Welcome to the slightly new and marginally improved Playthroughline!


It's been six years since I started this little blog and it's grown quite a bit since then. At first I was just putting out a couple of wacky scripts that poked fun at stories in videogames, but in those six years, those scripts have been read and shared by more people than I could have ever hoped for, and I even got fellow writers interested in contributing scripts. That's why I felt it was time to give Playthroughline a thorough redesign to get with the times already. So, what's new? Let's take a look.

Script: True Detective (also not a videogame)

Detective Ray Velcro, who'll stick to any case.
Detective Ray Velcro, who'll stick to any case.

After abridging the final seven episodes of Mad Men, I wanted to throw myself on another television series. Just then, the highly anticipated second season of True Detective reared its grim head and I knew I had found my next target. Unfortunately, TelePlayTime went on hiatus after I had completed the third episode, but I was allowed to continue my recaps over at HappyNiceTimePeople, a site run by my The Editing Room co-author Rick Lewis. I've now wrapped up the entire season and you can relive it through the links below. You know, should you want to.

Script: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Note: After making his debut on Playthroughline earlier this year, John Keefe returns to sink his teeth into Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. You can read his Script by following the link at the top of this post. In addition, fellow contributor Ed Smith has kindly allowed me to pipe in his thoughts on the game. Check out the link below, where Ed pretty much tells Hotline Miami 2 to shut up.

-- Joannes


Script: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

So reasonably, I ought to be using this space to talk about the game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. What makes it a brilliant game that balances amazingly smooth gameplay and first-rate storytelling chops, that sort of thing. But since I'm allowed to talk about whatever I like here, I'm going to indulge myself by going waaayyy off on a tangent and ask the age-old question: why can't we get a decent movie based on a video game?

Script: Metal Gear Solid

Note: The effervescent Ed Smith made his debut on Playthroughline with a no-holds-barred beatdown of Red Dead Redemption and now he enters the ring again to face 1998's Metal Gear Solid. The result is a tad different from what you might have come to expect from the Scripts on this site. Please do find out for yourself, and afterwards, if you're eager for a more direct appraisal of the Metal Gear franchise from Ed, there's some of that below. It's quite direct.

-- Joannes

Hideo Kojima is a sexist, untalented, copycat hack whose status within the gaming industry is nothing more than proof of what dire straits videogames are in. His games are clumsy to play, aesthetically derivative and written like fan fiction. And in the words of Agness Kaku, who worked as the Japanese-English translator on Metal Gear Solid 2, Kojima "wouldn't last a morning in a network TV writers' room."

Script: Mad Men (not a videogame)

This poster makes sense to me now. Same man, changing world.
This poster makes sense to me now. Same man, changing world.

So here's a new thing I'm doing! There's this website called TelePlayTime that does for television series what I do for videogames here on Playthroughline. I do enjoy the occasional television show over a snifter of port, so I figured I'd try my hand at snippy abridgements of AMC's Mad Men. The second half of the final season is underway now and you can read my recaps of the first batch of episodes by following these links:

Now I can say I'm doing abridgements of three different types of media! And for those of you who now resent me for not focusing on the Scripts here on this blog, worry not. I have it on good authority there's a new one coming very soon.

Let's compare Max Payne 3 to The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Everything ripped apart in a Bikini Bottom minute.
Everything ripped apart in a Bikini Bottom minute.

Since we've just had some fun at Max Payne 3's expense, I figured it was time to give the game its due and discuss some of the deeper themes and mechanics that drive the experience. Just kidding, you've already seen the title, this is where I compare the storyline of Max Payne 3 to that of 2004's SpongeBob Squarepants movie.

Script: Max Payne 3

Note: Craig has officially completed his first trilogy on Playthroughline! All three Max Payne games have now been lovingly bestowed with Scripts. We also had a little back-and-forth regarding our interpretations of Max Payne 3's ending, which I have reproduced below. Take it away, Craig.

-- Joannes

I don't envy anybody the task of taking over a property from the people who created it. Especially when the creator has, for better or worse, invested the work with their own distinctive voice. Do you give the property your own voice and hope for the best, à la John Wells taking over from Aaron Sorkin on The West Wing? Or do you try to mimic the writing style of the creator, as I preemptively imagine will be Rhianna Pratchett's strategy? Both of these approaches seem fraught with peril.

Script: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Note: I am honoured to announce yet another contributor to Playthroughline! John Keefe is one of my fellow authors at The Editing Room and when I asked him if he wanted to abridge a game, he set his sights on Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. I'm not a fan of Lord of the Rings, so thank Ilúvatar someone else tackled this game. Please enjoy his glorious contribution and if you'd like to read more, there's further thoughts from John below.

-- Joannes

Shadow of Mordor proves just how spoiled we are as gamers. It was not so very long ago that any game with even a whiff of movie tie-in was utter crap, that "open world" was just code for "big and padded," where story came to you in walls of text and combat involved two buttons for attacking and one for a dodge. Fast forward to the glorious future of 2014, and Shadow of Mordor has fixed all of those problems and yet somehow feels weirdly B minus.

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