Big Pic­ture Mode

In­dus­try is­sues given the widescreen treat­ment

EDGE - - GAMES SECTIONS - NATHAN BROWN Nathan Brown is Edge’s deputy ed­i­tor. Is it just him, or are po­lice­men get­ting younger and younger?

Nathan Brown on COD4, Mario and staying true to your roots

My rav­ing days are long be­hind me, but I was sad­dened nonethe­less by the re­cent news about Fabric. I don’t ac­tu­ally have much of a per­sonal affin­ity with the London club, which has lost its li­cence af­ter a cou­ple of drug deaths – I went on open­ing week­end, a story I tell to make my­self feel less ready for the glue fac­tory in a pro­fes­sion that tends to skew a lit­tle younger (OK, a lot younger) than me, but that’s about the ex­tent of it. In­stead it’s about what it rep­re­sents. Chances are you’ve seen the list do­ing the rounds of all the clubs that have closed down in the past decade. Most of my old haunts – Turn­mills, The End, Ba­gleys and so on – went years ago.

There are po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural rea­sons to lament and rail against the death of Fabric, cer­tainly. Per­haps you see it as an attack on the young and their cul­ture, or the work of an ad­min­is­tra­tion in thrall to great big piles of for­eign money. But for me it just means that London is one step fur­ther re­moved from the place that ex­ists in my head. I love London for its re­li­a­bil­ity: 12 years af­ter I moved away, I can visit for a day and still get my bear­ings. Ox­ford Street is still Ox­ford Street; the Tube still works (mostly) as I re­mem­ber it. But as the years roll by, my per­sonal, cul­tural as­so­ci­a­tion with the place fades. Fabric go­ing kills my last re­main­ing con­nec­tion to London nightlife – and if you’re young and live in London, that’s all London re­ally is. Th­ese days I work in the city I grew up in, and the route I used to take into town sim­ply doesn’t ex­ist any more, be­cause they built a new shop­ping cen­tre and bus sta­tion on top of it. Th­ese places are still fa­mil­iar, but they no longer feel like mine.

Don’t worry, I hear you. This is all very nice, Nathan, but what has any of this got to do with games? First, this is my col­umn, and I’ll get to the point when I’m good and ready. Sec­ond: I’m ready! De­spite my Edge job de­scrip­tion in­sist­ing I have a vested in­ter­est in the fu­ture of in­ter­ac­tive en­ter­tain­ment, the game I am look­ing for­ward to more than any other this year is Call Of Duty 4: Modern

War­fare Re­mas­tered. I lost hun­dreds of hours to COD4, think about it of­ten, and miss it ter­ri­bly, to the ex­tent that not even Ac­tivi­sion’s ex­clu­sive bundling of it with the pricey spe­cial edi­tion of In­fi­nite War­fare – £80 to you, sir – has put me off.

Then I saw the new trailer. It’s a lov­ing vis­ual re­make, a 2016-wor­thy re­jig of the slightly blurry game I fell in love with al­most a decade ago. But my ears feel dif­fer­ently. Ac­tivi­sion has changed, pre­sum­ably for rea­sons of fi­delity, the game’s sound ef­fects. The fore­bod­ing crash of an in­com­ing airstrike, gun sounds, even the bark­ing of the griz­zled an­nounc­ers: all dif­fer­ent. It is the game I adored, but it is also not. This is the shiny stone-and-glass shop­ping mall built over the child­hood walk into town, the shiny silent apart­ments that re­place a beloved club: an im­prove­ment for ev­ery­one ex­cept those who sim­ply loved it the way it was.

I’m not alone. De­vout Metal Gear Solid fans be­moaned Hideo Kojima’s de­ci­sion to have Keifer Suther­land voice Solid Snake in

Ground Ze­roes in­stead of se­ries stalwart David Hayter. There’s a pe­ti­tion urg­ing Cap­com to walk back its de­ci­sion to use a new voice ac­tor for Frank West in Dead

Ris­ing 4. It’s not that we fear change as such; it’s that we hon­estly just thought things were fine the way they were.

A friend’s son is com­ing of gam­ing age, and so he asked me – be­cause I am nat­u­rally the one that gets asked about th­ese things – what was the best way of get­ting hold of

Su­per Mario World (like any fa­ther, he is des­per­ate for his chil­dren to love the same things he did). We ran through the op­tions, both le­gal and not; 20 years on, there are dozens of ways to get your mitts on one of the great­est games of all time. But we agreed that the best course of ac­tion was to head down to his lo­cal car-boot sale and buy a SNES. Be­cause to us it’s not just the game: it’s the clunk of the car­tridge in its slot, the click of the power switch, the feel of that flat, dinky con­troller in hand as the ti­tle mu­sic starts up. Be­cause th­ese things mat­ter: when so many of our mem­o­ries are pass­ing into his­tory, it’s im­por­tant we keep hold of the things we still con­trol. If we can make Mario

World look, sound and feel like it did when we were kids, when so much is chang­ing around us, we’d be fools not to. We briefly de­bated the mer­its of hunt­ing down a good CRT telly while we were at it, but quickly wrote it off. With our old backs, we weren’t con­vinced we could still pick one up.

It’s the clunk of the car­tridge in its slot, the click of the power switch, the feel of that flat, dinky con­troller

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