It’s 22 minutes past 1 in the morning. I have to get up for work in roughly 7 hours, but my fiancée is in Hospital for a week, so “Bugger it”. The very words I muttered to myself as I fired up my laptop and struggled to remember the password for this neglected nubbin of the internet I call SpriteVector.
You see, procrastination has always been a weak point of mine. Everything is “in a minute”, “tomorrow”, or “when I have time”, and I’m fucking sick of it, so, at 25 minutes past 1 in the morning, I wanted to get some thoughts about VIDEOGAMES out of my dark, echoing skull and onto the world wide web. With this context in mind, I give you:
Sleep Deprived Drivel #1
Thoughts On Videogame Protagonists and Actual Emotions(?)
For me, like a lot of people, Gaming as a hobby is a practice of escapism. It allows me to become a hero, a spy, maybe even an flipping SPACE-CHIMP, and it feels great.
Or at least… it used to feel great. Maybe I’ve been playing the wrong games, but to me there has always seemed to be a distinct disconnection between modern day protagonists and real life emotions. When is Mario going to realise that Peach is probably getting kidnapped on purpose? Where are the stomped goombas drowning their sorrows at the “Magikoopa Arms”?
I know that Mario isn’t the fairest example of this kind of thinking, but it suits my purpose, and the examples make sense. Where’s the feeling of individual thought?
It’s not that I want some kind of David Cage level intricacy in the games I play, I love an excuse plot just as much as the next guy. I know that sometimes, being able to fill in the blanks gives your mind the freedom to wander, and create ideas that have never occurred to anyone before. However that feeling of uniqueness that comes with really connecting with a game world seems so much more rewarding to the player and the creator, it seems to me that it’s a crime to not at least attempt to add a teensy smidgen of this kind of philosophy(?) into a game.
Even something as simple as what I’d call “AI reaction” is something I’d love to see improved. How? By increasing the accuracy and level of reaction that an AI controlled NPC can express in different situations. Imagine how you’d feel if instead of a MGS guard going into Alert Mode when he sees one of his dead buddies, he reacts in a more “human-like” manner. If I found a workmate impaled on a Roman blind*, I’d be panicking/grieving/soiling myself, not tripping alarms. Fuck Alert Mode!
*I make blinds for a living
Imagine (if you will), a top down Alien game where you herd terrified groups of marines to their deaths, slowly picking off one soldier after another, while steering the group towards the ultimate goal of the nest. Imagine situations like the group deciding to split up? Do you try and bring them back together? Maybe you leave them to make their own way for a while? What if you can send lesser NPC Aliens to patrol other territories, with the animal instincts and hard to manage behavior that you would expect from a blood thirsty Xenomorph. I think that sounds much more interesting than the next bloody Call of Duty or whatever.
In a (very) short summary, because it’s 18 minutes past 2 and I’m finally feeling sleepy, I think I’m trying to say that, in the most contrary of ways, I want my escapism to be more realistic, damn it!