A Modest and Irate Rebuttal on Account of Too Little Coffee This Morning

This began as a simple comment on this article, but I got carried away and started to turn it into a point by point deconstruction of the applicable points of the piece.

Also I was in a bit of a mood when I wrote these. No real reason.

1. Save Points

“Ooops! You died 65 hours into Final Fantasy XII. Now start over from scratch!”

Appealing prospect? No. I’d chuck the game in a bin and never touch it again.

Actually, from that same franchise, Final Fantasy III is a perfect example. There’s not a single save point in the ENTIRE final dungeon. It’s a more “realistic” approach than the rest of the game, sure, but people ruin controllers over stuff like that. Games FAIL because of omissions like that.

Real life may not have save points (as far as we know, but you never know if WE might have been the game all along), but dammit, if you make my game lose the ability to save, I WILL find out which window is yours and I will use that knowledge to the fullest extent of videogame justice.

2. If it Sparkles, it’s Important!!!

You answer your own question of ‘why’ with Now, to be fair, without the glowing, it would take forever to find items (especially in the survival horror genre where the lighting is so dim to begin with).”

Or did you want to keep spinning aimlessly around in rooms looking for that Soda Can of Destiny? I’ve played games like that. It’s not fun.

I’ve looked for my Playstation Portable many a time, and gods know I wish that fucker glowed so I could find it.

3. Continues

Refer to my save point rant.

4. Tutorials

Can be done well. But since you singled out Metal Gear Solid in your pic, MGS has some of the most cunning use of breaking-the-fourth-wall humor ever seen in the gaming medium. Such moments are rare, but noteworthy.

Solid Snake mentioning that he doesn’t know what an action button is, and Naked Snake remarking that he “can’t smell” when The Boss advises him to use all five senses, both in their respective games’ tutorials, both poked fun at the typical game writing conventions, with the first asking that Snake be aware he’s a game character when he clearly is not aware of it, and the second showing a different Snake that is at least aware that he’s hampered by SOMETHING, even if he doesn’t know the cause.

It’s not “patronizing”, as you put it, sir. It’s actually funnier than your attempts at ‘humor’.

5. Inventory

“Oops. I needed the MacGuffin of KelVlock to slay the villain, but I only had this fanny pack, so I couldn’t bring it to his lair to use because I can’t even fit a first aid kit and an apple in that sucker.”

Hero dead. Villain wins. Story over.

Inventories are good to have.

Even soldiers in real life bring enough pouches and bags to carry everything relevant to the task at hand, and while it may not be as impressive as six uzis, a glock, and an RPG-7 in a handbag, you’d be surprised exactly HOW MUCH I can fit into whatever carrying bag I have available. I’m a student; it’s a fine art we have.

6. Health

The only real section I have no quarrel with. I’d love the ability to regrow limbs by eating enough sandwiches or sitting in one spot long enough to smoke a ciggie.

7. Physics

Technically, everything Nathan Drake does is PHYSICALLY possible, but like James Bond, the whole assortment of his talents (gymnastics, archaeology, soldiering) would have to be spread over a team of people rather than concentrated in a single person. But dude, watch Ninja Warrior sometime. Those folks who make it to stage 4 make it there by virtue of being JUST AS GOOD at physical activity as Drake.

And who the hell brings up glitches anyway? Of course they make no sense. That’s why they’re glitches.

8. Cars

Exploding cars are nothing new in fictional entertainment mediums. Or have you never watched an action movie made post-1980? Gods, if you’re going to criticize, do it with perspective. You make it sound as if cars made of explodium are exclusive to gaming. They’re not.

9. Time Limit/Score

There are time limits in real life. We call those “deadlines” and missing them usually makes your life VERY unhappy (unless you’re Barack Obama, but that’s another rant entirely).

Scores are referred to as “grades” or “evaluations” and like in games, lower is not better.

10. Progression of Difficulty

Who are you to say that life has no progression of difficulty, exactly? At 23, my life is now burdened with more responsibilities than it ever was when I was 17. It’s a lot more difficult than it ever was, and it will continue to be so for some time, because like in games, just when you thought you had shit figured out in real life, more hits the fan.

If videogames were more realistic, nobody would play them. We get plenty of realism as is from… oh I don’t know… REALITY. Videogames, with their fucked up physics, tropish nature and non-synchronous relationship with the real world, are an escape from realism.

Knowledge of where the line happens to be is valuable, but perspective of why things are the way they are also helps.

Keep this in mind.


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