281: Home, Sweet Home

Home, Sweet Home

Giving players access to the dwellings of videogame characters can contribute more to the sense of a living, dynamic world than any number of cut scenes.

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It may take some time to realize how dark is Fallout 3 setting, a pos apocalyptic world set up in the USA, especially if you are not sentimentally attached to the country (it is indeed a new one, if compared to others).
After breaking in terminals and read the Vault logs,that were consisted of hopeless cries of help made by its inhabitants, unfinished sentences written on grammatical disorder.
Closing the terminal you look around to se barricades made of chairs and tables, tree skeletons behind it and... teddy bears... doesn't matter from where you are, you understand that "War never changes..."

I try to tell my own stories in the dwellings they give you. Like my American Psycho Tenpenny Tower suite: on the medical bench I kept mutilated body parts, tools, and some food items (like squirrel stew & noodles). I like it too when we get he opportunity to fill in these details on our own. We are playing a role after all.

The suite in New Vegas is far more limiting. Most of the upgrades are just storage chests (some of which are glitched) and you can't decorate with food without a companion coming by and gobbling it up a second later: I lost an atomic cocktail and a box of sugar bombs before I realized that.

I hope more people enjoy these superfluous activities as much as I do as I would like to be able to do stuff like that in more games.

marygoodden:
Home, Sweet Home

Giving players access to the dwellings of videogame characters can contribute more to the sense of a living, dynamic world than any number of cut scenes.

Read Full Article

The same problem is destroying the "worldsy" feel of MMOs--a lack of domestic space, because of a downplay of domestic activities. This is a symptom of a problem in basically every storytelling medium (movies and games in particular).

There is no "down time." You see the characters in action, and they are built solely for that. You never see the hero without the weapon strapped to the side, because it's been an integral part of the character since conception--the character is a vehicle for the delivery of combat, not really a "character" in the literary sense.

There is little or no denouement in movies, either. Climactic fight scene, victory!, credits. No epilogue provided, or it's quite disposable if it's given. It's the story equivalent of a selfish lover immediately rolling over and going to sleep after "getting his/hers." The action's done, nothing more to see here.

Providing a view of the non-action side of a character, and letting the game provide some activity in those spaces, provides a cozy window through which to view a side of the character that is often neglected by the audience. And the reason it's not done is because that side is often ignored by the writers, too.

Even in RPGs, providing the character with a domestic space that they can customize adds a richness to the character. It provides a real sense of ownership and connection to the character, thus the game itself. This was once of particular value in MMOs. See the old Star Wars Galaxies for an example--you could place a house, decorate it with any item from the game, and you could maneuver furniture however you saw fit (even using a combination of innocuous items to create a giant model of your own design).

It didn't serve a "purpose," per se. It was its own purpose. You had a footprint in the world, over which you had complete control. It was there even when you logged off, proof of your presence in this world. You might be able to take your character design and handle to a different game, but it was this footprint that kept you coming back--even after the core gameplay was critically injured by poorly-conceived updates. There are still people that stay there simply because of the housing system.

I think these domestic spaces are really just a simple example of that much needed "downtime" in the story. Consider opera, as an art form. It basically consists of two types of music, recitative (less melodic, though still sung, passages during which most dialog takes place) and aria (the more tuneful passages, usually featuring a soloist, during which monologue takes place).

Recitative is the mechanical portion of the opera that moves the story forward. It's during these sections that the plot is unfolding, characters are having conversations (usually specifically to provide exposition), and there's a lot of forward motion. And then, we have the arias.

These were the prizes of the opera, the best part. If you can get past the language and style barriers, you'll find they have the soaring melodies that are really what brought the audience to those seats night after night. And during the aria? Basically, no plot movement. It's almost always a character's internal monologue, expressing their feelings over the latest development. These moments aren't about exposition, they're about insight. And they are the most beloved portions of any opera.

Modern stories, especially in video games, lack those moments of introspection. The game must be about the business of the game. If it's a war game, you should be "doing war" at all times. Period. It's all of the mechanical stuff, with a thin layer of style to make it look different. Short attention spans dictate there is no time to stop and look around. If something isn't blowing up, you need to get moving!

I blame the writers. If they aren't taking the time to create compelling stories, there's no treasure to dig for, and thus no reason to stop and dig. It must begin with them. The audience at large may not demand it until you show them that they're missing it. Care about your character enough to give them a life outside work, and your audience will have a reason to give a damn.

dastardly:
There is no "down time." You see the characters in action, and they are built solely for that. You never see the hero without the weapon strapped to the side, because it's been an integral part of the character since conception--the character is a vehicle for the delivery of combat, not really a "character" in the literary sense.

There is little or no denouement in movies, either. Climactic fight scene, victory!, credits. No epilogue provided, or it's quite disposable if it's given. It's the story equivalent of a selfish lover immediately rolling over and going to sleep after "getting his/hers." The action's done, nothing more to see here.

You raise an interesting point (as does your whole post) - characters in games are always doing something and are very rarely, if ever, seen in a state of inaction or introspection. I might suppose that it's a symptom of the nature of games, but the examples provided in the article and others throughout gaming prove that it is simply not the case. The player does not necessitate the constant forward movement of the plot or continuous action, but merely expects it, as such moments are the simplest forms of satisfaction; as the player is constantly "doing stuff", he is constantly receiving input on that "stuff". Games can and do utilize periods of inaction to an equal and perhaps greater effect than constant action.

One example of a brilliant use of home is in Persona 4. As your days are spent doing a number of options, from going to school to exploring televisions to entering the meat dimension and killing demons, you always come home from the evening and are greeted by Nanako, your young niece. Her "Welcome home, big bro!" and beaming smile seems grading after a while, but it's a constant and you begin to expect it. Suddenly, when the plot removes her from her home, you come home to silence and an empty house. No more Big Bro, no more smiles. It's a change that adds a sudden emotional weight and seriousness to your quest - you're not just trying to "save the world", you're trying to save Nanako, and the human sense of scale makes it a far more personal, and thus more important, objective.

To include home in this sense, or in the Fallout sense, or in any brief form provides with indirect exposition an emotional narrative, however brief, that simply cannot be achieved through direct narration, least of all to the degree that indirect narration could. You aren't told that "War never changes", but you see for yourself, for your own personal perception and interpretation, that war, and by extension human nature, never changes.

9NineBreaker9:

dastardly:
There is no "down time." You see the characters in action, and they are built solely for that. You never see the hero without the weapon strapped to the side, because it's been an integral part of the character since conception--the character is a vehicle for the delivery of combat, not really a "character" in the literary sense.

There is little or no denouement in movies, either. Climactic fight scene, victory!, credits. No epilogue provided, or it's quite disposable if it's given. It's the story equivalent of a selfish lover immediately rolling over and going to sleep after "getting his/hers." The action's done, nothing more to see here.

You raise an interesting point (as does your whole post) - characters in games are always doing something and are very rarely, if ever, seen in a state of inaction or introspection. I might suppose that it's a symptom of the nature of games, but the examples provided in the article and others throughout gaming prove that it is simply not the case. The player does not necessitate the constant forward movement of the plot or continuous action, but merely expects it, as such moments are the simplest forms of satisfaction; as the player is constantly "doing stuff", he is constantly receiving input on that "stuff". Games can and do utilize periods of inaction to an equal and perhaps greater effect than constant action.

One example of a brilliant use of home is in Persona 4. As your days are spent doing a number of options, from going to school to exploring televisions to entering the meat dimension and killing demons, you always come home from the evening and are greeted by Nanako, your young niece. Her "Welcome home, big bro!" and beaming smile seems grading after a while, but it's a constant and you begin to expect it. Suddenly, when the plot removes her from her home, you come home to silence and an empty house. No more Big Bro, no more smiles. It's a change that adds a sudden emotional weight and seriousness to your quest - you're not just trying to "save the world", you're trying to save Nanako, and the human sense of scale makes it a far more personal, and thus more important, objective.

To include home in this sense, or in the Fallout sense, or in any brief form provides with indirect exposition an emotional narrative, however brief, that simply cannot be achieved through direct narration, least of all to the degree that indirect narration could. You aren't told that "War never changes", but you see for yourself, for your own personal perception and interpretation, that war, and by extension human nature, never changes.

Sounds like a great moment from a game, and it's a shame I've missed that one. I might need to check it out. I like games that appeal to a different kind of heroism--the normal person in extraordinary circumstances that steps up to do extraordinary things. This is as opposed to the standard super-powered, super-skilled hero forced to face increasingly outlandish challenges to present any sort of difficulty against his unearthly power.

Both kinds of games are neat, but the latter has the market share for now, it seems. Real drama and story come from conflict... but people don't want conflict. They want fights in which they kick major ass. There's not really a time at which they feel the whole deal balances on the edge, and there's a real chance of failure.

Games like Persona, as you've described it, find that oh-so-important emotional grounding that speaks to the "average human" in all of us (while still providing a vehicle by which that average human can be heroic). Via the story, you are creating a hero, rather than just taking an extant hero "for a spin." And that story needs drama, and drama needs emotional weight, and nothing hits home like home.

dastardly:
The same problem is destroying the "worldsy" feel of MMOs--a lack of domestic space, because of a downplay of domestic activities. This is a symptom of a problem in basically every storytelling medium (movies and games in particular).

There is no "down time." You see the characters in action, and they are built solely for that. You never see the hero without the weapon strapped to the side, because it's been an integral part of the character since conception--the character is a vehicle for the delivery of combat, not really a "character" in the literary sense.

Heh, actually, some of my favorite memories from playing Final Fantasy XI was chilling with friends in one of our Mog Houses. You could decorate them with furniture, items from events, even armor and it was always fun for me to see how each of my friends chose to decorate their space. Personally, I was an event furniture nut - my Mog House was colorful and festive and organized. I loved showing it off, and my friends loved hanging out there.

dastardly:
These were the prizes of the opera, the best part. If you can get past the language and style barriers, you'll find they have the soaring melodies that are really what brought the audience to those seats night after night. And during the aria? Basically, no plot movement. It's almost always a character's internal monologue, expressing their feelings over the latest development. These moments aren't about exposition, they're about insight. And they are the most beloved portions of any opera.

That's an extremely interesting comparison. Whlist game journalism is making an understandable move towards discussing narrative techniques in games and games alone, I think there's a lot to be gained through comparisons to other art forms, other media. Whilst there is much to be gained by discussing games in isolation, I feel that it's through examination of the differences and spaces between different ways of telling stories that we learn more about games.

As you say, it's true in games that the most memorable parts are the "doing" whilst the "feeling" (if it appears at all) is so often relegated to a cut scene, actually separate from the game experience. As opposed to other art forms (in this case opera), where so often the most breathtakingly memorable and moving moments come from moments of reflection.

The difficulty (of course) is keeping the moments of reflection within the game medium...

GonzoGamer:
I try to tell my own stories in the dwellings they give you. Like my American Psycho Tenpenny Tower suite: on the medical bench I kept mutilated body parts, tools, and some food items (like squirrel stew & noodles). I like it too when we get he opportunity to fill in these details on our own. We are playing a role after all.

Hulyen:
Heh, actually, some of my favorite memories from playing Final Fantasy XI was chilling with friends in one of our Mog Houses. You could decorate them with furniture, items from events, even armor and it was always fun for me to see how each of my friends chose to decorate their space. Personally, I was an event furniture nut - my Mog House was colorful and festive and organized. I loved showing it off, and my friends loved hanging out there.

I didn't take into account the possibility of using domestic spaces as a role-playing device, where you impact upon your own space in order to create character in a way which in unique to games (although of course you can do that in Mass Effect 2, somehow a space hamster doesn't offer quite the same flexibility as your dismembered limbs :D).

Now that you mention it, a game character's accessories/belongings/clothing have as much impact on our perception of their personality as their environment, and this is especially true of role-playing games.

For example, I can't believe I'm the only person who puts just as much thought into how my character thinks he/she looks in their clothes as to what stat bonuses the clothes apply. This is kind of an extension of the "Buffout" point in the article, but I had a Fallout 3 character (female) who never wore Sexy Sleepwear (even though it was really light to carry and opened up more conversation options) because she just wasn't that kind of girl. If people didn't like what she had to say whilst she was wearing a jumpsuit, they sure didn't deserve to hear it from her in a negligee.

As far as items in RPGs go, I tend to be a lot more interested in their "role playing" potential than their practical potential. It almost doesn't matter when the two don't align because that happens in real life; I have plenty of favourite clothes that aren't waterproof...

9NineBreaker9:
Characters in games are always doing something and are very rarely, if ever, seen in a state of inaction or introspection. I might suppose that it's a symptom of the nature of games, but the examples provided in the article and others throughout gaming prove that it is simply not the case. The player does not necessitate the constant forward movement of the plot or continuous action, but merely expects it, as such moments are the simplest forms of satisfaction; as the player is constantly "doing stuff", he is constantly receiving input on that "stuff". Games can and do utilize periods of inaction to an equal and perhaps greater effect than constant action.

Quite. Just because games excel at "action", conflict and (as you say) "doing stuff", doesn't mean that the impact of those things can't be enhanced by having downtime.

And thank you very much for your reccommendation of Persona 4. I'd heard of it but never got round to playing it, but now I will.

I was going to mention (to go way back in time) Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father, where a similar thing happens. The story in this (excellent) point and click adventure game is told over a series of days. You begin each day bay waking up, coming out of your room in the cozy home/used bookstore you own, making yourself coffee, reading the newspaper, and arguing with your feisty secretary/clerk, who is completely unimpressed with your manly charms despite your constant efforts. Every day in the game you venture out into a world that grows progressively stranger and more dangerous, until one day you walk into the bookstore and your secretary has been kidnapped. It hits home pretty hard, especially since the game gets you into such a habit of feeling at home there with the little incidental activities like the coffee and newspaper. It's one of the most "homey" places I've ever encountered in a game.

Anything gained in Shepard's humanity with her cabin furnishings was thrown out the other window with the excruciating amount of loading screens required to give the place a visit . . . and I'm talking the PC version here. Portraying narrative through setting is great and all, but put those loving touches in the player's path instead of forcing them to break immersion to get a second look.

Jacob.pederson:
Anything gained in Shepard's humanity with her cabin furnishings was thrown out the other window with the excruciating amount of loading screens required to give the place a visit . . . and I'm talking the PC version here. Portraying narrative through setting is great and all, but put those loving touches in the player's path instead of forcing them to break immersion to get a second look.

The loading times are just as bad on the XBOX, I'm afraid (I always had a book to read during the load screens, I kid you not).

And that's definitely a fair point. Given the choice, I'd rather wait a bit longer in order to be able to explore the cabin than not have it at all, but I do agree that such areas are more effective when you can just wander into them. Given that the device relies so heavily on immersion, it does seem silly that - as you say - immersion must be broken in order to access it.

I liked this article and thought it brought up some great points about how character can be conveyed in-game. Thanks.

Great article. It brings up that thing... I think they're calling it emerging gameplay nowadays. Essentially, it's telling stories in games in a way that can only be told by games. It's embracing what the medium has to offer.

Every medium has its own idiosyncrasies that an author must embrace to fully utilize it. A good moviemaker will use camera angles, editing and colours to drive a feeling. In a good song the lyrics and the melody will complement each other. The whole thing about games being 'cinematic' - the thing that it's missing, is that it's like a movie that tells a great story, but is shot entirely at the same angle. It wouldn't make the story worse, but it would become less impactant. And a good director can make a lame story into a great movie if he focuses on his tools (just like most famous songs are famous because of their melodies, not because of their lyrics).

This exploration is one of the things that exemplifies it so well. It engages the player, forcing them to come to his conclusions outside of the game. I don't like the Half-Life series but I'm forced to admit its second episode and its second episode episodes to a stellar job at it, as does Portal (which I do like). Fallout 3 is essentially following the leader here. And it's something that only a game could do - it requires interaction, exploration, and the ability to control the pace you progress through the story. And the best thing, it's subtle. Subtlety is such a rare jewel in gaming, like a flower blossoming in the desert.

Here's hoping gaming realizes this is what it does better and we are given less characters shouting out their feelings in the future. (You can't just have your characters say what they're feeling... That makes me feel angry!)

I agree completely. I hope games utilize this kind of immersion and story-telling more and more.

Imagine walking into a run-down, lone house while there is dust blowing outside. The interior seems normal at first, but you pick up a note which has been left on a table, and the writing stops mid sentence. You would suddenly be too frightened to move.

And contrast that to an earlier exploration of a child's bedroom; the bright colours on the walls, toys scattered in one corner, bed half-made, and some paper and crayons on the floor. Atmosphere has been instantly created without so much as a character or bulletshot.

That cabin was terrible. All it has are the things you already mentioned in your article, there's literally nothing else.

A hamster cage, a model ship, and a portrait.

I wish Shepard's cabin was a little more home feeling...

Like maybe with a space cat.

I was disappointed my space hamster couldn't roam free.

For me, one of the happiest bits of good news on this front in the past year was the handling of Hyperion in Starcraft 2.

Getting comfortable on the ship and getting to know the characters outside of combat built a stronger bond between them and the player than in the original and reminded me of what I loved about the Wing Commander games, which had been doing this since 1990. If either Starcraft 2 or Wing Commander had been nothing but constant combat, what would you be fighting for? Why would you care about your crew or your wingmen? How could you become invested in an empty universe?

P.S. I have to echo 9NineBreaker9's praise of the Persona series and would like to add an aside about Final Fantasy XIII. Persona 3 and 4 are just about the pinnacle in getting players invested in the characters and the universe by making what would normally be considered downtime in an RPG into, arguably, the best portion of the game. On the opposite extreme, Final Fantasy XIII, in which the focus was squarely (no pun intended) on action, there is no 'home' and practically no downtime. When everything moves at a lightning-fast (again, no pun intended) pace, you can't reflect on what you've been doing or why any of it is supposed to matter.

This is the kind of thing that seperates me from certain characters. Take Cole McGrath from inFamous for example. He's a modern superhero, therefore he has the whole Christian Bale's Batman voice going on. It didn't make sense, and is one of the reasons I'm glad for the change in inFamous 2. His backstory says that he was a bike messenger, happily with his girlfriend and would have some fun with his friend breaking the law a little bit. I don't buy that guy talking in that voice. There is nothing to him besides the superhero with the tragic love story, gruff voice and dark journey ahead.
If he displayed some more of the smaller details that make up a person: a blast destroyed childhood home, or a passing reference to his family perhaps, he could have been more fully rounded, and I'd have been much more invested in his journey.

dastardly:
There is no "down time." You see the characters in action, and they are built solely for that. You never see the hero without the weapon strapped to the side, because it's been an integral part of the character since conception--the character is a vehicle for the delivery of combat, not really a "character" in the literary sense.

I have said this same exact thing a hundred times.

I make a rule for myself as a writer. If I can't imagine one of my characters:
O) Taking a crap
O) Masturbating
O) Eating a sandwich
O) Preparing a sandwich
etc
I do not consider them to be a fully-formed character.

For example, I can imagine Solid Snake making a sandwich, taking a crap, smoking a cigar, watching a rerun of Die Hard and going to bed dog tired. I can also imagine him killing a man. Or letting a man live. I can imagine him changing a light-bulb. That is a fucking character. He's a multifaceted representation of certain characteristics which are realistic, relatable, and likable enough that I can impose them even on mundane tasks and they don't fall apart.

By comparison, I cannot imagine Master Chief making a sandwich. Or taking a crap. Or reading a book. I can't imagine Master Chief doing anything other than shooting things and making grim declarations, because Master Chief is not a fully-formed character: he's a space-armor-shaped cardboard cutout.

It's all about context. If you put a character in my world and throw some shit at him, you're throwing shit at me. I buy it. I want to see how this guy will react because, conceivably, that could be me.

If, on the other hand, you put a bullshit character in a bullshit world and ask me to buy it, I'm going to shrug indifferently. What the hell do I care what the Squibs say to the Dongles about the macguffin? Nothing. None of it applies to me. It doesn't matter.

Side note: Tarantino is a great example of taking bullshit formulas for worlds and bullshit archetypes for characters and turning them into real spaces and real characters I can care about. And how does he do it? They make sandwiches. They discuss films and music. They struggle to remember the names of celebrities. They argue over how well to tip at a restaurant.

But as far as the content of the article itself:

I agree that domestic spaces help to contextualize action. While Mafia 2 had some deep flaws, I thought a brilliant move was

It would have been more effective if it had happened organically in the course of gameplay, rather than having a cutscene shove its boot up my ass and tell me THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOU RIGHT NOW, but whatever. I was impressed -- and genuinely, legitimately enraged/indignant/betrayed -- all the same.

Tying that plot swing into the central axiom of the game (find guys and shoot them) as a cathartic revenge mission only sweetened the deal. For the first time in that game, I actually wanted to go shoot up some wiseguys. After all,

It was that game's Moment To Take Note Of. And it mattered because I (and NOT Vito) had populated that space with shiny objects and lovely things. It was me. It was my own. It felt real.

And in the words of Peter Molyneux, "Once that's happened...I've got you ;)"

teknoarcanist:
= snip =

See, I hate QT. I find his characters to be caricatures. His movies just seem to get wrapped up around dialogue that's just not as clever as it purports itself to be. He treats his characters as though they've been thoroughly developed, but he just sort of skips that part. It's like someone writing checks based on what they thought they'd put in the account, not what's actually there.

But I do get what you're saying about characters. There has to be the idea that they exist "beyond." This is why I also prefer stories that don't explain every thread running through them--you get the sense that this world, and thus everyone in it, have a life beyond what you're being shown. It takes a special kind of writer to ride this line between "loose end" and "open end," though.

Usually, it comes in those little touches of humanity. They don't have to tell you what the character's other side is, or even show it. They simply have to give you the impression that it exists. There's a reason they're killing what they're killing (and it's not always so simple as "revenge"). There's a reason they're rescuing the princess or saving the kingdom, because there's a life they can go back to when they're done--and that is what they're really saving.

In a person's home, nothing is chance or random. It's a space in which they decide what they'll surround themselves with. What things they'll keep, out of the hundreds of thousands of things they've acquired in their lives. Which they'll display, which they'll hide. In a person's home, they construct a microcosm of their world as they understand it, even if they don't realize they've done it.

this reminds me of a scene in Fallout, I can't remember were, might have been a Vault

it was a small skeleton sitting against a wall with a Teddy Bear, the bear had a Helmet and a Pistol as if to protect the kid.

probably the only time I didn't loot everything.

The article has some interesting and innovative ideas about characterization in games.
This revelation of a character by unusual and "indirect" means makes me remember some procedures in literature, in which you get to know a character very well even when there is no certain description of he/she. Some authors manage to imply certain ideas of a character only by actions or descriptions of the character's room. I guess the same procedure would work for games, if well structured inside the interaction.
However, I can't conclude so certainly that in relation to more subtle character's description the cut-scenes become useless, as I regard them to a more narrative fixation strategy (the assertion of fixed points in a game`s narrative) than a procedure to intensify or describe a character.

marygoodden:
Home, Sweet Home

Giving players access to the dwellings of videogame characters can contribute more to the sense of a living, dynamic world than any number of cut scenes.

Read Full Article

By the way, I read your review on Bayonetta on your blog; and although I do not agree entirely with your opinion about the plot, I find it a very good review. Thank you.

I like Aeris' mom's house in Final Fantasy 7. It's a charming little isolated place in the middle of a downtrodden, gloomy city, and it seems very fitting that she'd live there.

teknoarcanist:

dastardly:
There is no "down time." You see the characters in action, and they are built solely for that. You never see the hero without the weapon strapped to the side, because it's been an integral part of the character since conception--the character is a vehicle for the delivery of combat, not really a "character" in the literary sense.

I have said this same exact thing a hundred times.

I make a rule for myself as a writer. If I can't imagine one of my characters:
O) Taking a crap
O) Masturbating
O) Eating a sandwich
O) Preparing a sandwich
etc
I do not consider them to be a fully-formed character.

For example, I can imagine Solid Snake making a sandwich, taking a crap, smoking a cigar, watching a rerun of Die Hard and going to bed dog tired. I can also imagine him killing a man. Or letting a man live. I can imagine him changing a light-bulb. That is a fucking character. He's a multifaceted representation of certain characteristics which are realistic, relatable, and likable enough that I can impose them even on mundane tasks and they don't fall apart.

By comparison, I cannot imagine Master Chief making a sandwich. Or taking a crap. Or reading a book. I can't imagine Master Chief doing anything other than shooting things and making grim declarations, because Master Chief is not a fully-formed character: he's a space-armor-shaped cardboard cutout.

It's all about context. If you put a character in my world and throw some shit at him, you're throwing shit at me. I buy it. I want to see how this guy will react because, conceivably, that could be me.

If, on the other hand, you put a bullshit character in a bullshit world and ask me to buy it, I'm going to shrug indifferently. What the hell do I care what the Squibs say to the Dongles about the macguffin? Nothing. None of it applies to me. It doesn't matter.

Side note: Tarantino is a great example of taking bullshit formulas for worlds and bullshit archetypes for characters and turning them into real spaces and real characters I can care about. And how does he do it? They make sandwiches. They discuss films and music. They struggle to remember the names of celebrities. They argue over how well to tip at a restaurant.

But as far as the content of the article itself:

I agree that domestic spaces help to contextualize action. While Mafia 2 had some deep flaws, I thought a brilliant move was

It would have been more effective if it had happened organically in the course of gameplay, rather than having a cutscene shove its boot up my ass and tell me THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOU RIGHT NOW, but whatever. I was impressed -- and genuinely, legitimately enraged/indignant/betrayed -- all the same.

Tying that plot swing into the central axiom of the game (find guys and shoot them) as a cathartic revenge mission only sweetened the deal. For the first time in that game, I actually wanted to go shoot up some wiseguys. After all,

It was that game's Moment To Take Note Of. And it mattered because I (and NOT Vito) had populated that space with shiny objects and lovely things. It was me. It was my own. It felt real.

And in the words of Peter Molyneux, "Once that's happened...I've got you ;)"

I totally agree with you about Master Chief. Totally devoid of character

clarissa:

By the way, I read your review on Bayonetta on your blog; and although I do not agree entirely with your opinion about the plot, I find it a very good review. Thank you.

Thank you very much, I really appreciate you saying that.

Lotet:
this reminds me of a scene in Fallout, I can't remember were, might have been a Vault

it was a small skeleton sitting against a wall with a Teddy Bear, the bear had a Helmet and a Pistol as if to protect the kid.

probably the only time I didn't loot everything.

I really liked the skeletons in Fallout. Whilst occasionally repetetive, they gave an idea of the various ways people might choose to spend their final moments. You'd catch a glimpse of the life that once (supposedly) was.

9NineBreaker9:

One example of a brilliant use of home is in Persona 4. As your days are spent doing a number of options, from going to school to exploring televisions to entering the meat dimension and killing demons, you always come home from the evening and are greeted by Nanako, your young niece. Her "Welcome home, big bro!" and beaming smile seems grading after a while, but it's a constant and you begin to expect it. Suddenly, when the plot removes her from her home, you come home to silence and an empty house. No more Big Bro, no more smiles. It's a change that adds a sudden emotional weight and seriousness to your quest - you're not just trying to "save the world", you're trying to save Nanako, and the human sense of scale makes it a far more personal, and thus more important, objective.

I've just tracked down a copy of Persona 4. I will let you know how it goes.

Thank you so much for the reccommendation.

9NineBreaker9:

One example of a brilliant use of home is in Persona 4. As your days are spent doing a number of options, from going to school to exploring televisions to entering the meat dimension and killing demons, you always come home from the evening and are greeted by Nanako, your young niece. Her "Welcome home, big bro!" and beaming smile seems grading after a while, but it's a constant and you begin to expect it. Suddenly, when the plot removes her from her home, you come home to silence and an empty house. No more Big Bro, no more smiles. It's a change that adds a sudden emotional weight and seriousness to your quest - you're not just trying to "save the world", you're trying to save Nanako, and the human sense of scale makes it a far more personal, and thus more important, objective.

I've just tracked down a copy of Persona 4. I will let you know how it goes.

Thank you so much for the reccommendation.

 

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