I am fascinated by Parkour, which may or may not be odd since I'm about as graceful as rhinoceros and have the coordination of a newborn. I suppose when I say I like it, what I really mean is l like watching it (or playing video games that enable me to be a little less clumsy) - not, I like doing it firsthand. I like it so much I have blogged about it before - although if I recall it was more of an afterthought than it was the central theme of a particular blog. I searched through the stacks and stacks of blogs, but I couldn't find the one I was looking for. I did find this one though, way back from May of 2010. Then there was one from June talking about Running on Walls might be the new trend everybody copies this year. I'd be okay with that. Doesn't matter though, this blog is about a different subject altogether.

It's about Parkour, how it is represented in video games...and how it's a lot better than I ever thought it would be. Oh, and just to be clear...

One of the best demonstrations of Parkour is from an older movie, which just so happens to be sort of my introduction to Parkour. The movie, District B13, had several scenes showcasing some exceptional displays of Parkour. The movie was decent. There were some other fine examples too. If I recall, Casino Royale (yes, the James Bond movie) had some Parkour in it too. A few years ago, there was even a reality TV show featuring a number of contestants who competed against one another in various Parkour events. Now that was a hoot. They were amazing.

But we're not here to talk about movies, we're here to talk about video games.

I'm actually surprised how well video games are able to capture the grace and finesse of human movement that is Parkour. It's something (I'll be honest) I never thought possible. Perhaps it's because I'm old and grew up in a generation where your character models didn't even have functional joints. I'm sure that's part of it. I suppose the other part would be the camera - how do you manage the camera when your body is spinning, rotating and bouncing all over the place? And will the player sitting behind all of this madness - will they be able to translate what the camera movement is supposed to be representing?

Of course we have some fine examples of games with Parkour, so we know the answers to these questions. Even I know the answers...

The reality is, video games do a darn good job of emulating real world Parkour movements. And we have a handful of games that prove it. Perhaps the most noteworthy is...

Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge is a single-player, first person, action-adventure platform video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts.

The game has a brightly colored style and differs from most previous first-person perspective video games in allowing for a greater freedom of movement with regard to its 3D environment, allowing for a wider range of actions-such as sliding under barriers, tumbling, wall-running, and shimmying across ledges; in having no heads-up display; and in allowing a range of vision which incorporated the legs, arms, and torso of the character as frequently visible elements on-screen. Mirror's Edge is set in a quasi-futuristic dystopian society, in which a network of 'runners', including the main character, Faith, act as couriers to transmit messages while evading government surveillance. In the style of a three-dimensional platform game, the player guides Faith over rooftops, across walls, through ventilation shafts, and otherwise within urban environments, negotiating obstacles using movements inspired by Parkour.

The truth is I never played Mirror's Edge. But not because I didn't want to. I have read a lot about it and watched footage of the movement. They did a great job with it. It was a totally original concept that seems to be getting copied more and more as other video games have started including it as an element of gameplay.

Games like Titanfall and Watch_Dogs have elements of Parkour...and it's also done fairly well. I don't know if everyone would agree Assassin's Creed uses Parkour, but seems like you could call it that to me. And if you include Assassin's Creed, you might as well throw in the Uncharted series too.

Let's not forget about that new game coming soon to a GameStop near you - Sunset Overdrive. Looks like it might use elements of Parkour. Let's hope it does, ha. If it doesn't, no big deal. Mirror's Edge 2 is under development now and the early trailers are already illustrating how awesome the Parkour is going to be in that game.

If you haven't seen the footage, you should drop everything you're doing and watch it right now! Unless of course you're rocking a baby, or holding your cat...otherwise, drop what you're doing and go watch the video. I'll make it easy for you - it's right here.

All this talk of Parkour...I'm suddenly in the mood to run up some walls.

My Titan is ready. Gotta run.