Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal
We Are Heavy Metal

Jonathan Glover | 5 Jan 2010 13:10
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Brütal Legend paints a bigger picture. An ode to all things metal by creator and headbanger Tim Schafer and an expansion of many ideas he toyed with in Full Throttle, if it's not what everyone wanted after four years in the oven, it's what Heavy Metal needed. The game's demonic vistas, inspired by metal covers (a lot of which were probably illustrated by Heavy Metal contributors), had long been languishing on the front of Mastodon albums. The game's Aquarius Records-curated soundtrack brims with '80s metal acts, while the vocal talent consists of aging rockers that were presumably thrilled to participate. In an interview with GamePro published last December, Schafer said:

We wanted to emphasize that the game's main story was a wish fulfillment for this character. It's about a roadie who wanted to live in an earlier time when the music was real in a medieval combat fantasy. That's our story, and we wanted people to understand that was what you'd be doing in this game: swinging an axe, playing a guitar, driving your car around and eventually commanding an army of headbangers.


Brütal Legend isn't about good versus evil, but Eddie Riggs' unwillingness to grow up. It's about his refusal to get a real job as much as it is our refusal to stop sitting around in our underwear on cold Sunday mornings pretending to be dwarves or superheroes.

But we knew that. Videogames, much like Heavy Metal, refuse to grow up. The magazine has had such an indelible impact on the gaming landscape because we allowed it to. It fulfills our childish and sometimes childhood fantasies. It never went anywhere; everyone else just moved on. While those other guys traded LSD for parenthood, Heavy Metal just kind of did its own thing. And while similarly "dumb" games will continue to be marginalized as the medium grows into a legitimate means of expression, they'll always be here. Videogames are only as serious as gamers take them, something you would do well to remember the next time you gloat over killing someone in a knuckleheaded war game, your windswept mane blowing majestically as you stand atop the mountainous, tattered corpses of your meek opponents.

Jonathan Glover is a writer living on the East Coast.

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