Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Getting Up: Marc Ecko's Only Foray Into Video Games

I can't really recall why, but today I woke up with a particular game on my mind. I don't own this game, but I should have bought it a while ago. It wasn't an exceptionally good game by any stretch, but it also wasn't a bad game. In all honesty, it's one of the best executions of one of the elements of Hip Hop ever infused into a game. It was the brainchild of Marc Ecko and featured the voice acting of Talib Kweli(for better or for worse). The game I'm referring to is Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure.

Getting Up follows the exploits of Trane as he rises from amateur tagger to graffiti legend in an oppressive city that places their heel on the throat of anyone who tries to express themselves. Not only does he have to contend with the corrupt mayor's personal police force, but he also has to deal with a rival crew and in the process starts his own crew. The story was actually deeper than expected from a game about the art of graffiti, but as someone who never had to run from cops for my art, I really didn't know what to expect.

The core gameplay mechanics in Getting Up involve writing graffiti burners to spread your message of freedom against the corrupt government, and random tags on random smaller structures. This may reminds players of Sega's classic Jet Grind Radio, but in practice, Getting Up is very different. It plays like a hybrid of Jet Grind Radio and Prince of Persia with the use of platforming to get to various locations around the cityscape. Once a spot for a tag or burner is reached, you can scroll through which tag you want to put on a location, and how big you want it to be, then you get to painting the burner. As expected, you don't get unlimited paint in this game, so in similar fashion to the aforementioned Jet Grind Radio, players will have to scour the game looking for more paint while avoiding or fighting off police and rival crews. It really does feel like Jet Grind Radio without the cel shaded sheen.

For all the mediocre reviews Getting Up received, it was one of the better attempts at 3-D platforming on the PS2. It was also a very mature and gritty take on a gameplay concept made popular by Sega's classic. If it weren't for a few technical hiccups(the camera getting stuck in strange spots was my main issue), Getting Up could have been one of those games that's looked at with reverence. Sadly, it's a good game that a few gamers really like that is lost among the ghosts of the PS2s massive library.


  1. Nice description man, and since a PS2 is what I own, I may have to look into adding this into my small collection...

  2. Man the fighting killed me. Some of the battles were damn near impossible. I finished it but it was annoying getting my ass kick by cops in riot gear and fake ass Agent Smiths while PUNCHING THEM WITH AN AEROSOL CAN.

    And Talib should never do voice acting.