So, it turns out that Tom has been receiving angry letters from PETE, People for the Ethical Treatment of Ellie. Apparently forcing her to constantly review the dregs of the Wii barrel is cruel and inhumane, and PETE activists have now helped Ellie escape from her mini-games dungeon by building a special tower out of Boom Blox. Clearly, this is political correctness gone mad. Not that I'm bitter or angry. No, I'm quite happy to take Ellie's place while Tom hunts her down with his high-powered drug gun. It's fine. This stack of new Wii games looks...interesting. Right? They can't be that bad. And it's not as if the shackles are that uncomfortable. There's even some hay on the floor, which is a bit like a cushion. I'm sure it'll be fine.
Secret Files: Tunguska
Publisher: Deep Silver
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to interview Tim Schafer, the man who brought us Monkey Island 2, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. Among adventure aficionados, it's fair to say he's something of a legend. He was, of course, promoting his superb platform romp Psychonauts and I asked him if he felt a twinge of sadness at the point-and-click genre falling out of fashion. "People shouldn't cry for any genre", he said. "Be loyal to the concept of quality and imagination, not a scheme for mouse control."
His words have been ringing true this week as I grappled with Secret Files: Tunguska and, more pertinently, digested some of the online coverage the game has been generating. It's a fervently old fashioned point-and-clicker, with nary an action sequence or against-the-clock challenge in sight. It's not a bad game, but hardly one of the greats, and yet early reviews have been bordering on glowing - hovering around the 8 and 9 mark. As I played through this rather unspectacular story and grappled with arcane inventory puzzles, I realised that the game was being given considerable leeway simply for being a solid entry in a sparse and moribund genre. It was being given credit simply for what it was. It's a little patronising really. "I think people actually show disrespect for an art form when they talk about keeping it alive", Schafer told me. "Back off with that feeding tube, buddy! Art forms don't need your charity. They live or die all on their own."
Boom bang a bang