Today I ponder the importance of good controls and video game bedtime stories!!
Controls Be Important
Happy “Pat Friday” backloggers and happy last Daily Backlog of June!! Actually, it’ll be the last Daily Backlog for the next 10 days since I’ll be going on vacation for the next week! Yay!! But since I’ll miss all of you and the whole routine of writing these posts and creating things, I’ll probably think of something I can do to fill the void. Maybe I’ll stream a random game so we all can kick back and chat about our favorite hobby! Oh, and I’m almost finished with my next Backlog Review too, so look forward to that in the coming days! This time around I’ll be taking a look at the gritty and nightmarish, Claire: Extended Cut by Hailstorm Games!
So, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been playing a few games that have wowed me with both their presentation and overall design, but have also dragged the experience down with their “not quite there” controls. It had me thinking about how important it is to get controls right in a game. I mean, I know that’s a pretty obvious statement, since it’s the primary interface between the game itself and the player. But when it’s done wrong, it’s so glaringly apparent that it could turn a good game with good ideas into a real stinker. Even something as simple as creating a poorly designed button layout and not giving players the ability to configure them to their liking, can turn people away.
Luckily, none of the games I’ve been playing have been so off base that I just flat out dropped them, but I’ve definitely found myself complaining about it throughout the entire playthrough. Just ask my wife. For example, in The Coma, the fact that I couldn’t take out or put away my flashlight while running, meant I was always hesitant to use it, lest I encounter the omnipresent killer stalking the halls. Not to mention the unresponsiveness and input lag I would occasionally encounter. Or in my current game, Super Neptunia RPG, inputs during battle don’t always react immediately and seem to buffer so when they do catch up, you’ll find yourself in an input loop, swapping between different formations over and over again.
Like I said, wanting good controls in a game is a pretty common thing, but when bad controls ruin something that had so much potential, it’s a bit disappointing. I mean, it’s the interactivity of games that set it apart from other media, and in my mind, it should be the first thing you get right. You can have the best story and graphics in the world, but if the player just gets frustrated and quits because they can’t control their dang character, then they’ll never see all the hard work put into the rest of the game.
On a much lighter note, I thought it would be fun to talk about video game stories. Well, more specifically, video game bedtime stories!
So, to give you a little context, my wife and I read to our son each and every night before bed. It’s a good way for him to engage with reading and it calms him down so he’s not going bonkers in his room playing with toys and such. All the while thinking we can’t hear him. He still does this despite our best efforts, but I’m here to tell a different story. Anyways, my son is a big fan of monsters. You know, vampires, mummies and most of all zombies. He’s only 6 mind you, so it’s nothing gruesome or anything, it’s more like innocent zombies that fart on you or something. But he reminds me of myself when I was his age and being obsessed with similar subject matter.
So, to change things up, I thought I would tell him a story based on one of my favorite horror franchises that prominently features zombies, the original Resident Evil. Now this was a very abridged version (based purely on memory) and toned down for a 6 year old, but I was amazed to find that he was absolutely entranced! I only went from the beginning of the game where the zombie dogs chased the S.T.A.R.S members into the mansion and up until Jill encounters her first zombie in the dining room hall. But the entire time I was telling it, he was adamantly listening to my words while sitting at the edge of his seat! Well, curled up in a blanket, breathing in my ear.
And after I finished, he begged for more! So I guess this might become a thing! First of all, I should probably brush up on my Resident Evil story beats, but it also reminds me that the core story of these games is actually pretty interesting! Well, at least to a 6 year old. But it reminds me of the work these developers put into the worlds they create, and how truly fascinating they can be!
122 In the Bag
Well my friends, that’s going to do it for today, this week and the rest of June!! It’s fun experimenting with the video game worlds that we all love, like telling bedtime stories based on them. I’m curious, have you ever done something similar? Have you created fan-fiction, fan art, etc? I’d love to hear about it!
Until next time backloggers, have a great rest of your day!!
Super Neptunia RPG (PlayStation 4)
Punch Line (Steam) – The Wife
Borderlands 2 (Xbox One)
Total Backlogged Games: 723 …the number of times my son interrupted with questions.
Total Completed Games: 31 …”Daddy, how many bad dogs were there?” …”31″… “Daddy what did Barry say when he saw the zombie?”… “31”
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