Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
A Quick Time Event By Any Other Name

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 26 Mar 2013 16:00
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Best of all are the times when such things are intercut with non-interactive cutscenes, with zero indication of when one has passed to the other. So we have wonderful moments when Lara Croft has some kind of scripted reaction, is hurled out of a window by an explosion, grabs a zipline just in time to land at the start of a collapsing bridge, and proceeds to stand there working her underpants out of her bum crack as the floor gives way behind her because you didn't realize you were supposed to be pushing forwards.

And then there's the other kind of sequence triple-A games are fond of for giving the illusion of interactivity where in fact there is none: the Sliding Down Something Sequence (SDSS) and its close cousins Falling Down Something Sequence (FDSS) and Flying Up Something Sequence (FUSS, as in, stop making such a FUSS about coining new initialisms, Yahtzee). These have the same benefit as the pre-determined escape sequence except you know exactly how long it takes and you are spared the inconvenience of the player having to push forwards. The player just controls the protagonist two-dimensionally to avoid obstacles flying towards them, a la Space Harrier.

These are all very clever ways of getting to rigidly script your action moments without having to resort to using the classic quick time event. Well done for thinking them up. But a rose by any other name is just as uncomfortable when shoved up the cockhole, and just because they're not technically quick time events doesn't mean they aren't fueled by the same hateful attitude: The notion that video games should be like films, and that all their interactive elements should be flaked off bit by bit as more effort is pumped into barely-interactive meaningless stunt scenes.

Which is a massive disservice to the medium. I'm not necessarily saying games are inherently better than films (although I do think so and I'm right) but they operate on an entirely different level. What I have found to be one of the most desirable qualities I look for in games these days is the water cooler factor - when everyone who's playing the game can get together around a water cooler or burning barrel and talk about the experiences they've had, and everyone can have a different story to tell. That is not a factor the game possesses if all of those stories are exactly the fucking same.

If you must have a trailer, take your inspiration from the Just Cause 2 trailer, which is mainly about showing off some fun things that can potentially be done organically with the game's physics. It fires the interest and gives the player something to aspire to.

Hey. Sony. You may not realize it, but if you're serious about the PlayStation 4's motherfucking "Share" button, then the current philosophy for triple-A games is against your best interests. The idea is we're supposed to share videos of our great triumphs and achievements with "all" our "friends", right? Well, if triple-A games stay the way they are now, Youtube is going to be absolutely flooded with videos of people all doing the exact same fucking thing, aren't they? More so than it usually is, I mean.

Yahtzee is a British-born, currently Australian-based writer and gamer with a sweet hat and a chip on his shoulder. When he isn't talking very fast into a headset mic he also designs freeware adventure games. His personal site is www.fullyramblomatic.com.

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