Posts Tagged: video game design

Jul 16


Never mind what game inspired this (Halo 5) but, nowadays in many fps (and third person games) you get many fine qualities but also a big tendency to fall back on trite over-familiar crapola from decades ago. Yes we get wonderful graphics, wonderful action, good drama and actions and voices in cut scenes, good voice actors (That Guy from Firefly and Castle in Halo 5, among others), pretty good settings, generally good interfaces, good music, relatively few glitches and when there are some they try to get patches to you…many good qualities. BUT there are egregious old cliches built into the structures of these rather expensive games and few designers are thinking outside the box. FOR EXAMPLE, we still have “bosses” at intervals, adversaries who are big and harder to kill, and so very very familiar, no matter the details. They usually have the same sneering British diction.

We still have to go to series of devices and switch them off to cause some remarkably primitive super futuristic super high tech device to overheat (!) as if they were steam engines or something. Or you have to switch off a series of powering devices to cut off a force field, and fight your way to each switch, etc. Or you have to–fill in the blank–some other object in some very very familiar way.

Thankfully they don’t make you crawl through extraneous overly convenient ventilation passages as much as they used to. But you have to fly or drive through mazes, you have to shoot flying vehicles in a way that is remarkably like arcade games from 1990, in a somewhat fancier modulation…Oh and you have to build up inventories of something until you create a Thing…and for some reason though you often work for a gigantic powerful military force you’re dropped behind enemy lines with a shitty rifle and a shitty pistol and you have to scavenge better weapons that are lying about on the ground. The whole “find ten power gems to power your energizer blaster” or whatever is very very old…

I could list many more examples. What I’m suggesting is, we are still encountering archaicisms and a general failure of the imagination in game structuring and story.

Some games try to get away from this–RPG games TRY and though individual missions tend to break down to the same thing (like the dreaded building-the-transporter device in Fallout 4) you sometimes get more interesting variations with RPG…