The Sunday Papers
Sundays are for picking the shredded remains of the previous week from your teeth, and thinking about the battles that lie ahead. Never surrender, readers.
- Ah, damn. This was an essay I should have written, and knew I should have written, but didn't because I am weak and old. I am so glad someone else seized it, because it's obvious and important. Geoff Dyer's book Zona, which is about The Zone of Tarkovsky's Stalker (and also Chernobyl) had a vast and glaring omission. For all its cultural literacy, it entirely ignored the game. Perhaps with good reason, but still. The New Your Review Of Books (of all places!) takes up this topic: 'The Zone in the video games is a beautifully dangerous place, bigger and grimmer than Tarkovsky's, but somehow still appropriate. There are plenty of long, tense walks through damp weather or empty, creaking tunnels. Packs of dogs wander the landscape, ruined farmhouses give shelter from the rain; here and there the ground ripples strangely. Stalkers gather around campfires, bandits take potshots at passersby, and a man lies wounded in a ditch, begging for help. Watching Stalker, one is occasionally brought up short by remembering that it was not filmed in Chernobyl, so perfect an analogue does that event seem for the film's images of technology and nature, beauty and danger in strange alliance. The games, at their best, can seem like a sort of miracle: a dead man's masterpiece, come home at last.' Not sure I agree with 'subpar graphics', but then I suppose that's partly a matter of taste and hardware (and modding.)
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