195: String Theory: The Illusion of Videogame Interactivity

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But I have to wonder at the emphasis on the MGS4 tunnel scene - I thought it was obvious that the scene was scripted. I looked at it basically as a cut scene with quick time events... Which is essentially what it was, right? Am I an abnormality among MGS4 players?

We all knew it was that, but we didn't know that tapping like snake's life depended on it was neccesary. Raise a broken finger all who are missing some finger meat.

Outright failure states are an obsolete hold-over from arcades. If developers never did this, every game would be Garey's Mod, all of the content, and none of the structure.

so.. that last battle in HL2-EP2 was a pointless piece of work then. I never bothered to finish that fight anyway, the gun didnt work half the time, and knowing that there is a "emotional manipulation script" inside makes me even less likely to try that battle again.
I didnt finish the last fight in episode 1 either.. seeing the odds magically stacking up against me turned me off right there.

These are two very good examples of how developers try to integrate story with gameplay.
Stuff like this is way more enjoyable to me than switching between game mode and video mode (aka cut scene) or a story without actual pace to it (for example fallout3.... was I the only one who had a quest like "urgent: rescue your dad from some madmans lab" quest and ignore it for about 3 weeks?).
I hope we will see some improvements and more developments in this direction, instead of endless repetittion of the established storytelling methods in games.

I view it less as interactivity, and more as participation. I'm there to follow the story of the protagonist, to ride along and feel what they feel, see what they see. Their journey is something that I progress with the, but at no point during their journey, does it become mine.

Even in RPGs, just because the character is referred to as me, bears my name, it's not me interacting with the story. It's me following the story of the character (who happens to bear my namesake).

When I play games, I don't wan't a grand finale, I want to WIN. I will never treat the story as the main point of a game; even in story based games. Gameplay is first; failure states have to be definite, varied and the result of a set of actions that I understood led me there.

Truly rich stories can be created through the gameplay, just look at the stories that grew out of the early nintendo games like Zelda, Mega Man and Metroid. Those were told by small pieces of text in-game, a few images and then told through articles in magazines and references in other media.

There is a sort of meta-story (:rolls eyes:) that can be told only relative to the gameplay. I guess Mega Man is actually a pretty good example of that.

If I wanted to play a game I cannot beat, I would play Pen & Paper RPGs.

The HL2:E2 showdown is questionable. The article made it seem like it was impossible to slow the enemy onslaught and that buildings were scripted to be destroyed.

When in fact the enemies would always spawn from the excact places, and memorizing these spots helped end the battle sooner. There is also an achievement for saving every building, (Only the crouching striders would attack the buildings. And they were spawned by specific triggers.)

Funny thing is I just had a conversation with someone about something similiar: Do we have control, and freedom of choice? Or is freedom of choice only an illusion. He was the type of guy to believe that everyone has freedom to make choices and control their own lives and their environment (he's also kinda cocky). I told him that, no, choice is an illusion, and there are so many out there that don't get to choose the situations they're in - sometimes life just dumps on you and there ain't nothing you can do about it.

Somewhere in between there is where I'm certain the truth lies.

But during our discussion I actually brought up the original Half Life game. At the end of the first game, after defeating the final boss, the G-man offers you a job, and if you refuse he'll kill you (or more specifically, put you in a position for which survival is impossible). They reference this at the end of the second game, calling it the "Illusion of Free Choice."

And that seems to be what all games are. The only endings usually are dying before the proper end and getting a game over, or completing all the content and ending it that way. Sometimes games have multiple endings, but typically (like in Half Life) they have one sort of ending.

Now I see the point about the MGS4 climax. I saw that on youtube, and thought that it looked like a lame QTE (not a fan).

But the final battle in HL2-E2 delivered a challenging fight. I failed a couple times because I couldn't get to the final strider in time, and I still haven't been able to get the achievement for saving all the buildings.

If it does precisely creciendo at a certain arbitrary point, then does it not do precisely what Left 4 Dead does? The AI director in L4D drops health and ammo when the player needs it, while continuing to bombard the players with zombies at a challenging, yet not impossible pace. Isn't that the same thing?

I'm honestly asking. What's the difference between the final strider battle, and L4D's pacing?

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