We don’t always play the video game in front of us. Control is often wrested from us, and we are obliged to watch closely. Cutscenes and Quick Time Events interrupt the flow, to push the plot forwards or to steer us down a very specific track. When a game shifts into a lower gear, and player agency is restricted, it is hopefully for a very good reason.
One of the particular reasons a game does this is because the protagonist has suffered a severe, sometimes mortal, wound.
Lot’s of games have this moment. a dramatic scene in which the player-character is reduced to a slow, lumbering mess, desperately dragging themselves to safety or performing one last heroic deed. Sometimes, it creates a deliberately heart-wrenching moment. It’s also a very strange moment from a game logic perspective. Having walked off so many terrible, violent attacks, we are told that this wound is the one that could be our downfall.
Continue reading “This Wound Matters: Video Game Storytelling”
Most people can simply enjoy what they do. I nitpick, poke fun at things I enjoy and appreciate them even more so, whilst others are quite content to be content. Yet there are those vocal few that find it difficult to just have fun.
There are those that like to take the adversarial stance. The more a game, a movie or a show is popularised, the more likely they are to find fault with it. On the other side, some people cannot enjoy something if they know critics find fault with it. You can usually find these two groups bickering about their most/least favourite thing online, whilst everyone else enjoys that thing without issue.
The Last of Us is a hill on which many people have squabbled. I’ve heard the words “prefect game” and “total garbage”. It cannot be both of these things, and its really neither. No game is without issues, and something so popular must have merit…
Continue reading “Late Review: The Last of Us”
At some point, it was decided that every modern video game needed to include additional story in the form of collectables. As we wander the world, we come across audio and/or text files. We can pause our gameplay to open up the parchment or ‘press play’, at which point we are told a little bit more about the world or given more flesh for the bones of the story.
Sometimes, it’s implemented well. Other times, the extra information is dull or unnecessary. Far too often, the added collectable stories feel forced, as if the developers felt obligated to include such things – All the other games are doing it.
Continue reading “Show, Don’t Tell: Do Games Talk Too Much?”
The undead are the one thing that never dies in video games. There are more Zombie games than there are Zombies in the average horde. Some are central to a game’s story; some are added as additional features. They are so prevalent that new types of Zombies are regularly invented, often with new names – Infected, Freakers, etc. Call them what you like, Zombies have spread across gaming time and space.
It seems incredible to me, the fact that we have yet to experience Zombie fatigue. Game innovation and variety can keep an idea fresh, and gamers still have time for the Baddy That Shambles. Devoid of personality, limited in challenge unless they are in large groups, and usually lacking the ability to spread the zombie infection as with most movies, they nevertheless remain a constant in the gaming world.
Continue reading “Are You Tired of Zombies?”
A lone hero seeks adventure in a dangerous world. In one hand they clasp an ancient sword made from the devil’s weirdest nightmares. In the other hand they hold a giant handgun so powerful that it doesn’t need to be loaded to kill from two miles away. From head to toe, the hero is clad in armour that prevents attackers from remembering why they were even mad in the first place. There is so much arcane magic coursing through the hero’s veins, that one sneeze can level an entire cinema. Only a 1 or 2-screen cinema, but it’s still pretty cool when it happens.
Yet today, the hero will meet their match. No enemy, real or imagined, has ever managed to best this courageous, mighty and inexplicably handsome warrior. Today is the day when the hero faces…a fence which is slightly too high to jump over.
Continue reading “How Does Your Game Keep You Contained? Part 1”