Split Screen Series is a critical dialogue of videogames by Justin Keever of Virtual Narrative and Miguel Penabella of Invalid Memory, investigating the stories, themes, aesthetic choices, gameplay, and formal properties of videogame art.
Experiencing Max Payne 3 entails a world of tensions and thematic bifurcations. It’s a work of urgent artistry, both an introduction of its hardboiled world to a new, high definition generation and a culmination of the grimier imaginings that came before. Rockstar elevates Remedy’s pulp genre franchise with more loaded ideas and more expressive moments, remarkably lucid yet ultimately blurred with an aesthetic of sundering intoxication. Yet the game foregrounds this dissonance rather than back away from it. We enter Max’s world to escape our own reality even as he longs to break free from his misery; his restoration at the conclusion of the game means returning to our own lives.
Read the full critical dialogue on Virtual Narrative.