There aren't many studios like Remedy, which relishes being a bit weird. How many studios slow jam their history to music? How many creative directors do a mini-striptease on stage and then dress as characters from their games? Remedy, the Finnish developer of Max Payne, Alan Wake and Quantum Break does.
Passing out isn't something people are meant to do very often - or at all, in fact - not that you'd know it from video games. Game protagonists, seemingly, like nothing more than sparking out for a while and then coming to later. I've been rendered unconscious twice in my life and I can't say either was a particularly fun experience, but that's certainly not stopping the games industry - Metal Gear Solid 5 made the latest contribution to the proud tradition just this week, in fact.
Video games often aim to take you away from the real world, but sometimes developers include something that breaks the fantasy and reminds you that there is life outside the monitor. From the humorous to the incredibly touching, I take a look at a few examples of games that bring you back to reality.
When someone says they're not excited about Max Payne 3 my automatic reaction is to screw up my eyes and give them a hard stare. The statement, and often its calm delivery, destabilises me. Who is this person? Why do they have this wrong level of excitement? The balance nubbins in my ears revolve gently while I'm derailed onto a track several degrees asynchronous from reality. Max is the dearest of all my friends. How can he not be yours?
Max Payne creator Remedy Entertainment has praised Rockstar's upcoming take on the series, and said Max Payne 3 looks "brilliant".
Microsoft has added Max Payne 1 & 2 to Xbox Live Originals.
Max Payne and Max Payne 2 may be on their way to 360 courtesy of Xbox Originals, judging by an ESRB posting dug up by Destructoid.
Scott Miller, producer of the Max Payne videogame, has voiced first his bewilderment at the movie adaptation starring Mark Wahlberg, and then, er, his pride in it.
Critics have sullied what appears on paper to be a successful opening weekend for the Max Payne film.
Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg says Max Payne is his "favourite role so far".
Beau Bridges, star of Stargate SG-1, The Fabulous Baker Boys and being Jeff Bridges' brother, has signed up to appear in the forthcoming Max Payne movie.
A new shot of Mark Wahlberg in his role as Max Payne has appeared over on Dark Zero.
Hollywood producer Scott Faye has confirmed that the big screen adaptations of Max Payne and Alice are still on track and are coming along nicely, thank you.
It's been four years since developer Remedy first announced that Max Payne was getting an adventure on the big screen - and since then, we've heard nothing.
But now the project is back on track, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which says 20th Century Fox is working with Collision Entertainment and Firm Films to produce Max Payne: the movie.
There's no word on who's set to star or who will direct the film, but apparently it'll be a Dirty Harry-style movie with a storyline that will focus on Max's history and origins.
It's usually pretty pointless looking at the same game across multiple formats; most of the time it's a uniform experience no matter which platform you're reviewing the game on - but not so with the PS2 version of Max Payne 2. If games came with cigarette-style health warnings on them, Rockstar's latest would state boldly: SLOW LOADING TIMES IMPAIR YOUR ENJOYMENT.
Not since Stuntman creaked out onto the PS2 last summer have we encountered a game that the PS2's creaking DVD drive struggles so hard to cope with. You can always hear it grunting in pain as yet another elaborately rendered area is spooled off the disk and into its tiny memory banks. Initially, the only real irritation is waiting for the next area to load, and if you just keep seamlessly moving from one area to the next without dying you'll be aware that the game has to stop to load a lot, but not so much that it's particularly annoying. The most notable occasions when things get a bit jarring are when the many cinematic sequence fires up - there'll always be a jarring pause before the animation gets underway, but other than that the game stays as faithful to the PC original as anyone could have reasonably expected.
Put the kettle on
The more complex, involving and time consuming videogames get, the more something as fresh and immediate as Max Payne 2 stands out. A game you can just pick up, play, enjoy, complete and play whenever you fancy something a little less cerebral. Think of it as the gaming equivalent of a brain dead action movie, and I don't mean that in a disparaging way; it's just delivers the kind of shitfaced grin experience that most developers shy away from in this era of 50 hour epics.
The PC version, as we've already discussed at length, was a 9/10 for me. Many of you didn't agree (including our Rob, bless 'im - no anime featured, y'see), complaining about it being a total rehash of the original, but I swear I've not played a more enjoyable all-out action game this year.
We've got cream for that problem, sir
Some people insist that you make your own luck in this life. If that's the case then poor Max Payne is a supreme architect of ill fortune; a man so down that you wonder why he even bothers getting up in the morning. Welcome back, Mr grim, we've missed your constipated grimace.
A couple of years back the original was a massive commercial success on the back of an extremely polished graphics engine and its pioneering use of the now ubiquitous Bullet Time system of enabling the gamer to slow down time and continue shooting at a real time rate. The effect elevated an otherwise standard third person action game into something genuinely new and thrilling, with the novelty of diving sideways, backwards or headlong all guns blazing at posses of enemies never wearing thin.