Stolen Pixels

Stolen Pixels
Stolen Pixels #203: While You Were Sleeping

Shamus Young | 15 Jun 2010 13:00
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Yes, in Alpha Protocol you wake up to find you got the job but your employer doesn't want you to know where the office is. I would advise against taking a job anyplace where the commute to and from work involves sedation.

The "you wake up to calamity" is a really common videogame trope, although for some reason I can't find it on TV Tropes. It's always the same: You wake up, the place is in peril, alarms are going off, and you're in your underpants.

It's a natural starting point for a game. There's excitement and alleged danger to spice up what would otherwise be a dull tutorial. You're in your underwear so that the game can gradually equip you with armor, weapons, and gadgets without overwhelming you. And the fact that you were sleeping gives a reason for why you have no idea what's going on and why everyone has to explain everything to you.

Other notable instances:

KOTOR II: you wake up in a healing pod on the soon-to-explode Pegasus mining facility.

System Shock: You awaken from a healing coma after having a cybernetic implant installed, only to find that the computer has gone crazy and is killing everyone on the space station.

System Shock 2: Same thing, except on a spaceship.

Neverwinter Nights 2: You wake up, your dad sends you to the tutorial harvest fair. Not exactly a calamity, but then that night your friend wakes you up because the village is under attack.

If I missed any I'm sure you'll let me know.

Shamus Young is the guy behind Twenty Sided, DM of the Rings, and Stolen Pixels, Shamus Plays, and Spoiler Warning. And none of that is his day job.

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