Star Fox Command

Blending genres is common in television and film. There are romantic comedies and legal dramas and dramadies to name a few. The realm of interactive fiction (video games) has also had it’s fair share of genre defying and genre blending games, but mostly this goes without the kind of notice taken with television and film.

Star Fox Command successfully blends the genres of aerial combat and turn-based strategy. The developers accomplished this by making use of the Nintendo DS’ touch screen and stylus, which are instrumental in both real time and turn based portions of the game.

Game Chronology

One of the major tenets of video game theory is the relation between what author Jesper Juul would call “game time” and real time in narrative games. There are no games, except the notable Animal Crossing, which operate in true real time. Time passes in games either very quickly or stands still between moves in order to allow time to pass. In games like Rise of Nations, time passes far faster than in real life. Entire civilizations can be constructed and laid to waste in a matter of hours. In games like Civilization III time progresses through “moves.” For example, it would take x number of moves to produce building y. Finally, in action games like Wolfenstein 3d time moves in “real time” during a mission, but comes to a seeming stop in between missions where the player experiences a briefing or cut scene.

Choices, Choices, Choices

All of these methods are used in Star Fox Command. The game utilizes many cut scenes and briefings to familiarize the player with the progressing story and to fill him or her in on the mission at hand. It also makes use of the turn-based strategy format to allow players to plan out a flight path for their pilots to undertake. If a pilot comes across an enemy, he or she must engage them and the mode switches to aerial combat mode.

This flight simulation mode is highly reminiscent of previous Star Fox franchise games, which all have some degree of space dog fighting. The only difference is players use the stylus to pilot their craft, and any button to discharge their weapons. These sequences occur in real time, and end when the mission is complete. Between missions, players select their path on a map which determines the difficulty and the ultimate outcome, bringing yet another layer of modality and interactivity to this game.

This cycling through game modes and genres keeps Star Fox Command from becoming repetitive and stale. This also allows players to take more responsibility for the outcome of the game. These added layers of depth allow for a more immersive experience and blend together well.

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