On Top of Dubai

I’ve played video games my whole life. I mean, I literally played that home version of Pong when I was three years old. Somewhere along the lines, classic arcade games moved over for all kinds of interesting strategy and first-person shooter games, until we were hit with such a deluge of copycat games, it became hard to tell one from another, save the occasional brilliant twist in game mechanics.

On even rarer occasion, a storyline would blow me away. In the last several years, this is happening more and more often. I partly attribute this to the accessibility of game-making tools and the influx of indie developers. But I think there is more to it than that: as video games become more prolific, more mainstream, there arises a challenge to make them unique. To bring them to the level of books and film – to make them art.

Some games are obvious art. Dear Esther comes to mind as one that challenges the notion of even being a game. There are many others that push that same boundary, but I recently discovered one that I had not expected. Not even close.

I’m writing this now somewhat behind the times. Spec Ops: The Line was released in 2012, three years ago. So why should I bother reviewing it now? Well, I guess because I just discovered it, I feel compelled to spread the word in what little way I can. Maybe you’ve already played it. If that’s the case, I hope you’re reading this and want to talk more about it. Because I’m fucking obsessed with it right now.