Posts Tagged ‘dragon’s lair’

GamingRant

Press [A] for Awesome!

Dragon's LairYears ago, there was a game in the arcades (ask your parents) called Dragon’s Lair. You might even have heard about it. Since ‘retro’ became cool, it has been ported to every single platform in the known universe. What was once a game that came on a big silver Laserdisc (ask your parents) the size of an LP (ask… oh, just face it, I’m old), can now be played from the palm of your hand on an iPhone or Android unit. It differed from other games at the time because instead of being given immediate and direct control of your character, you were prompted at certain specific points for an input (joystick direction or button mash) that either led to success or death. Think one long quick-time event and you’ve pretty much got it sussed. Get the waggle right and your character did some awesome death-defying dodge and got to live on to the next precarious event. It was very popular at the time. Not so much now except with the retro freaks.

Games moved on. Players wanted more than linked FMV, no matter how lush it looked or how action-packed the canned moves were. They wanted control.

But these days it looks like we’re coming full circle. One thing I noticed from the demos shown at the recent E3 – canned awesome is back. Yeah, we have control over our grizzled soldiers, our wrong-man-at-the-wrong-time-in-the-wrong-place or our plucky English roses with an archaeology fetish but jabbing away at the game pad now has them cinematically leaping across obstacles, wrestling weapons from foes and performing grisly take-downs that’d have most action movie stars green with envy. Have we reached a tipping point where we’re once again handing back our control just so we can look awesome?

We used to get our awesome quota from cut-scenes. If we needed our protagonist to look just that little bit more heroic and death-defying than the game engine could muster, the cut-scene would be there to show us the big explosions, the cityscape-altering alien invasions or simply the snappy back-and-forth banter that would have been missed if done in-game while we were too busy scouting round for that last health pack pick-up. But cut-scenes got too big and people eventually complained that they wanted a game, not a movie with only occasional joystick waggling.

Watch DogsThese days cut-scenes are sneaky – popping up in bite-sized chunks every few seconds in triple-A titles. They’re integrated into the gameplay with the developers worried that you’ll lose interest if you’re not seeing something humongous, kinetic and awe-inspiring taking place in the game world every third or fourth step your character takes. Round a corner, blammo! Open a door, surprise! Scratch your nose, woo-haa!

I admit, canned actions of cinematic awesome look nice but ultimately leave me feeling a bit unfulfilled. I know that while it was my random button jabbing that brought the moves into being, I’m not really responsible for the dynamic and rather graceful way my hero is separating the bad guy from his spine. I don’t deserve it. That’s not skill. Just like Dragon’s Lair, I’m simply pressing the right button at the right time. It’s how you play the game, it’s what I’m supposed to be doing and yes, more often than not, it does look amazing but I just don’t feel… awesome.