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Games Without Frontiers: 'Pure' Shows Off Fun of 'Artistic' Physics

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Old 10-06-2008
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Games Without Frontiers: 'Pure' Shows Off Fun of 'Artistic' Physics
"The tricks in this game are pure fantasy. Do not attempt them in real life."That's the warning that flashes when you first boot up Pure, the giddily awesome new ATV-racing game. And no wonder: Pure sends you driving around mudsplacked tracks with furious velocity, racing up steep hills and then -- woo hoo! -- launching yourself with escape-trajectory speed into the air. The goal is to pull off stunts -- 720s, forward rolls, one-armed handstands -- so you can earn "boost," which lets you go higher and, of course, pull off even crazier stunts.After about 15 minutes, I was scraping the bottom edge of the ionosphere. Man, I had enough hang time to wander over to the fridge and grab a beer before I landed. So in one sense, yes, Pure is unadulterated fantasy: These sorts of tricks aren't remotely possible under the normal rules of gravity.But the game isn't completely divorced from reality, either. The control scheme for the ATVs is forgiving, but only so much: You can survive a slightly sloppy landing, but not one that is one notch more careless. And when you first take off from a jump, you have only milliseconds to deduce whether you're going to go high enough to pull off a lengthy stunt. The upshot is that the physics in Pure encourages you to take crazy risks -- while still requiring you to think carefully about what you're doing.In essence, the in-game physics cooked up by Pure's designers isn't merely a matter of being realistic or unrealistic. The...

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