Friday, November 14, 2008

New James Bond = Old School Gaming?

Since I'll be seeing Quantum of Solace tonight, I thought it was only appropriate to make today's post Bond related. I'm a big fan of the Bond movies and I also enjoyed the novels when I was younger (and some day I'll re-read them once I re-stock my collection).

Bond and Gaming go very well together. Heck, there is/was a James Bond 007 RPG put out in the 80's and although I've heard good and bad things about it, the overall impression I get is that, for a media tie-in RPG, it wasn't terrible. For me, the cool gadgets, adventures, cinematic (duh) fight scenes, stunts, and villains all smack of gaming, but I do think that it's definitely not "Old School" gaming - there's definitely a plot, the PC is pretty much indestructible, and gadgets and gear (read: magic items) play almost as much a part in the success of the venture as the PC's abilities themselves. There's also the obvious "PC script re-writes" in order to pull off getting the hero out of an impossible situation (as so well parodied in the Austin Powers movies), which is something that has made it's way into many "new" RPGs in the form of Plot/Hero/Fate/ Points that allow the PC to re-roll failures or even let the Player guide the course of events to save their PC from certain doom. This kind of Bond movie, I think, hit its zenith in the Roger Moore era, which were by far the campiest of the Bond films, and I think it only added to the camp factor and the overall impression that Moore was one of the weaker Bond actors.

And so this brings us to the "new" era of Bond - the Bond Reboot. I've got no real problem with this, and after Casino Royale, I was sold. If Quantum of Solace does suck, I'll be sure to update this post and profess my error, but I think in making a more fallible Bond, a more human Bond, one who gets defeated, who gets the crap kicked out of him (Casino Royale torture scene, anyone? Ouch!), we're getting back to a more "Old School" character, one who can and will suffer defeat, who must pick his fights, and win not through gadgets and clever (or implausible) scriptwriting, but sheer guts, determination, blood, and sweat. I think this is a good thing, and would like to hear some comments from people as to whether they agree or disagree.

To cap off the post, I'll put in an embad of one of my favorite scenes from the last Pierce Brosnan Bond movie, Die Another Day. I thought it was his best Bond movie, and although I don't think he was anywhere near as good a "real" bond as Connery or Craig, I thought he was pretty decent. And, it's always amusing to see people kick the crap out of each other and break stuff (oh, if only I could have gotten away with this during my fencing classes...).

So, enjoy!

1 comment:

trollsmyth said...

Yeah, I agree. One of the things that really makes the new Bond work is how visceral it all feels, how ugly and brutal it can be, which was part of the appeal of the old-school style. I enjoyed the Roger Moore era Bond for what it was, but when he got in a tough spot, you always knew some lucky break would come his way and yank his fat out of the fire. With the new Bond, it's actually fascinating to watch him, knowing that the character is going to need to find his own solution.

- Brian