No-one does vectors quite like Sokurah does vectors. Ok, ok, X-Out and Wiebo certainly come close so perhaps I should rephrase that to no-one does vector games quite as well as Sokurah does vector games.
Black Widow is one of the runts of the twin stick family, passed over in favour of maintaining the holy narrative that first there was Robotron, then there was SmashTV then there was Geometry Wars and then there was all the twin stick videogames and can those indies please stop it please because they’re always making them inbetween those platform puzzlers, hipster shit and art games and hypertext games and adventure games and 3d exploration games and short form experiments and anyone would think that this is a vibrant scene or something how dare they. Fuckers.
And yeah, it’s not the best twin sticker ever but it’s interesting. It’s entertaining and it’s solid fun. What I appreciate the most about Sokurah’s takes on games in general is how despite being seriously ragged up to modern standards, the games still feel timeless. His quick remake of Imagine’s I INVENTED THE COLOUR INLAY AND THE COLOUR RED TASTES GOOD AND IS GOOD FOR YOU Arcadia a case in point, it’s flawed because the original is flawed but Arcadia is flawed and changing that becomes something not Arcadia to a large degree. I know when I felt tempted to have a go at it, I wanted to do so much more with it but then it just wouldn’t have been Arcadia anymore. Remakes. It’s a fucking awkward line sometimes.
But I also appreciate that he doesn’t go for the easy targets. Ray Norrish has already nailed Robotron with Mechatron, Llamatron exists in many forms so that base is covered. There’s a myriad of Geometry Wars variants out there from the shit to the sublime so who needs more of those? Like with his other remakes (bringing Dingo back to the ZX Spectrum for a prime example here) they’re not hard or awkward remakes because they’re content heavy, they’re awkward because they’re the games that maybe only a few people give a fuck about and they’re a bloody hard sell to the public. Everyone remembers Head Over fucking Heels, we all know people wank themselves into a hyperspace frenzy over the dream of getting Elite remade in modern tech and that’s great but there’s a whole history of videogames that maybe didn’t change the world quite so much. Fucked if we should forget them because you didn’t get a bike for Xmas, you got a Vic Viper and a handful of teenage space opera fantasies and lalala procedural yes we fucking know, shut up.