Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Player Privilege: Why It Is Still Just A Game

This is a follow-up to my previous Death of the Player post where I mused over the idea of de-prioritising the player over other aspects of game design and criticism. It was rough stuff that I was not entirely convinced of, but I wanted to float the ideas to see what opinions people had. Without implying that they in any way endorse these posts, my thanks to Mr AK (who wrote some of his own semi-related thoughts to my post here), Adrian, and Chris for weighing in and challenging some of my points, and ultimately giving me more confidence with what I am actually trying to say.
As all three pointed out, my central argument, which focused on the ‘importance’ of the player was a flawed one. Even in cases such as Limbo where the game often exploits the player, the player’s ability to interact with the game is still central to the experience.
So I have reconsidered my argument and decided that it is not player importance I have an issue with but player privilege. The majority of games hand the player all kinds of privileges that affect how they experience the game. The player has received these privileges for so many years that not only is there a presumption that these privileges are required, but most players are so comfortable in the current environment that they do not even know such privileges exist. I want to abolish the player’s privileges—or at least challenge the player’s dependency on them.
Why? Because over years and decades, like a spoiled child, the videogame player has entered new worlds shielded and smothered by overprotective parents fearful that, if allowed, the child-player will either damage the world or, worse, damage themselves. The player has rarely felt the consequences of their actions, has rarely had to work for a non-quantifiable gratification, has rarely truly regretted or questioned their actions. Thanks to overbearing supervision, the player is tied tandem to the shallow end of the pool—facing no fear of drowning but no prospect of deeper experiences. As the player’s role has grown from simple coin-feeder to active participant, overprotective parents have held them close and refused to let them mature until the player’s sense of self-worth has overinflated to near bursting.
And who are these parents? The greater game industry. Designers, marketers, journalists, and critics smother the player, well-meaning in their intention to protect the player and help them through the game, they instead keep the player from any meaningful experience. In these parents’ eyes, the child-player can do no harm. If anything goes wrong, everything is blamed before the player. Too difficult? Game’s fault. Too easy? Game’s fault. Too complex? Too simple? Game’s fault. Player’s actions render the story pointless or, worse, Player unable to render the story pointless? Game’s fault.
The player is taught (by games, by marketers, by reviewers) that they can do no wrong, that nothing is their fault, that every aspect of the game exists to serve them. The player has grown up believing that nothing will ever affect them negatively and that there will never be consequences to their actions. In our quest to empower players with the agency to do everything, we don’t allow the player to do anything.
Yet, the most acclaimed, most realised game-worlds are those that both react to the player’s actions and, simultaneously but conversely, give the impression that the player’s existence is inconsequential to that of the world’s. That is, Liberty City, The Capital Wasteland, Azeroth, Shadow of the Colossus’s Forbidden Land, and New Austin could exist just as easily without the player’s presence, yet all are affected by the player’s actions.
Such memorable worlds are the minority. Most, due to their pandering of player privileges, are rendered unconvincing and meaningless—mere cushion-covered playgrounds. Player privilege is why videogame stories and characters pale compared to the ranks of film and literature. The current culture where the player presumes a range of privileges is detrimental to all facets of game design and criticism.
This still sounds like I am calling for a stripping of player importance, but this is not the case. The role of the player is crucial to a videogame, central even. Thus, if player privileges are numbing and diluting player experiences, then it is player rights that are crucial and must be safeguarded to keep the player’s experience from being sidelined altogether—to keep the game from becoming not a game. Player rights exist to render a game playable. This is not an all-encompassing list, but some key ones would certainly include:
  • The right to interact. (The player has the right to project actions into the game-world that the game-world then reacts to accordingly).
  • The right to progress. (The player has the right to always be able to progress, to have the means to overcome a challenge, to know when they are going the wrong way).
  • The right to know the rules. (The player has the right to know the rules of the game).
These are player rights. Without them, a game could not be played. Privileges, on the other hand, are things the player is usually allowed to do but by no means must do. Yet, these are so widespread that players have come to presume their right to them, and nearly all games adhere to them out of fear of the tantrum the player (and reviewer) will throw without their precious toys. Again, this list is neither all-inclusive or prescriptive, but some rights the player does not have (i.e. privileges) include:
  • The player does not have the right to act however they desire without fear of consequence.
  • The player does not have the right to immortality.
  • The player does not have the right to omniscience, to have access to every morsel of information about the story, the world, and the characters.
  • The player does not have the right to be rewarded unjustly. (i.e. achievement points for putting a disc in the tray.)
The player does not have the right to instant gratification.
I am not arguing that the player must not have these privileges ever, in any game. Rather, I argue that the player cannot assume entitlement of these privileges and should not dismiss a game for not having them.
Does the presence of these privileges affect the game-ness of a game? No, usually not. If the sole intent of the game is to let the player have a rollicking fun time, then these privileges are fine, if not advantageous. Games that exist just for pure, simple fun (Crackdown, Just Cause 2, the earlier Grand Theft Auto games) are as justified as easy-to-watch action movies and predictable romance novels. Sometimes that is all we want, and that is okay.
However, there also exists movies that are difficult to watch and books that are difficult to read, that are still revered for their aesthetic and thematic (and artistic) merits. I want more games that are difficult to play like Shakespeare is difficult to read and The Godfather is difficult to watch—difficult, but ultimately more meaningful and rewarding. Not like Killzone 2 is difficult on ‘Hard’ for making me put more bullets into an enemy, but like Far Cry 2 is difficult for making me walk for thirty minutes and then have to contemplate the very real punishment of death if I screw up the ambush. Like Half-Life (or the first Halo) is difficult for not giving me an info-dump of story before I am thrown into things. Like Deus Ex is hard for forcing me to act on incomplete information (brought up in Justin's excellent "Groping The Map" series on the game's opening level). Difficult in the sense that the entire game does not revolve around the player’s cushioned empowerment, entertainment, and instant gratification. When we do this, games finally begin to mean something.
Yet, every time a game does push aside some player privileges for loftier goals than instant gratification, there is an uproar by (perhaps a loud minority of) both players and reviewers. Far Cry 2 does not have enough to do; Braid is too ambiguous; Grand Theft Auto IV doesn’t have a jetpack; Limbo kills the player too cheaply. Games such as these are often stamped with the ambiguous ‘literary’ label as though no game could ever be as meaningful as a book. These games tend to keep all of the player’s rights intact while abolishing many privileges in order to focus on other design concerns—namely aesthetic and thematic ones. These games are the ‘difficult’ games that I want to play more of. (Note, though, that when rights are removed along with the privileges, it is to the detriment of the game, such as the sidewards-arrow-gravity-switch in Limbo which removes the player’s right to progress.)
Abolishing player privilege is not something we must start doing in the future. Rather, it is something that games are already attempting right now. Games such as those above (and others, to be sure) are potentially the foundations of a much broader shelf of high-brow games—if we allow them to be.
Such meaningful, artistic, high-brow games will only be more widely accepted if more players realise the satisfaction one can get from giving up their privilege and putting in the extra yards. Thus, it has to start with the players and the reviewers. Designers can craft all the privilege-free games they want, but they will get nowhere if the player refuses to let go voluntarily. This isn’t about changing mechanics but changing culture. Instead of complaining every time a game does not let us do anything we want and demanding the game returns us our privilege, we (players, reviewers, critics) should welcome these games with open arms for potentially allowing us more meaningful experiences.
This is not an elitist aspiration—I have already defended the more ‘easy’ to play games. I just want games that respect my rights as a player without smothering me with privilege, games that present me with a meaningful experience by letting me interact in meaningful ways that might just bite me back. But just as the high-brow player must accept just-for-fun games (and, really, who doesn’t’?), more high-brow titles will only exist if players are willing to give up their privileges.
Players must stop expecting rewards for doing nothing, must stop protesting punishment well-deserved, must stop wanting explosions yesterday. Players have to stop expecting every game to be tailored for their specific needs. It is time the child demands the parents stop pampering them and let them stand, stumble, fall, and eventually learn walk on their own two feet.


Adrian Forest said...

I'm afraid I still think your argument is a little muddled here. I think you're confusing accessibility with difficulty, and making accessibility the enemy of sophistication.

For example, there's a substantial difference between the way in which The Godfather is 'difficult' and the way in which FarCry 2 is 'difficult'.

The Godfather is difficult because it is difficult to make meaning from, not because it is difficult to watch. Watching it is easy. It's far from dull, there's always something interesting going on on-screen. The characters and events are fascinating in their own right. Making meaning from it is more difficult.

Whereas a film like, say, Bergman's 'The Seventh Seal' is difficult to watch (as well as difficult to make meaning from), at least for the less-scholarly film viewer. Personally, I found it tedious and dull, and honestly couldn't get more than maybe halfway through. To me, it is inaccessible. Its filmic language is not one familiar to me, and I have difficulty parsing it in a way that engages me. It is difficult to watch, and difficult to keep watching.

FarCry 2 is difficult because it is difficult to play, and to keep playing, not because it is difficult to make meaning from. Making meaning from harsh consequences for failure is not difficult. When the harsh consequence is having to repeat a long stretch of play, it is, though, tedious and frustrating. Its ludic language is less-than-accessible to gamers unused not to severe consequences for failure, but to seemingly meaningless repetition. It is difficult for many players to engage with as a game. I've played it myself for many, many hours, but only because I played the PC version which allows quicksaves. The game's ludic expression of its meaning, which is to say, its words, its ludic language, are the issue.

Langauge is probably the best analogy to convey my point, in fact. You're still confusing difficulty in engaging with the language, with difficulty engaging with the meaning.

Brendan Keogh said...

Hi Adrian.

Your differation between the difficulty of engaging with the language and difficulty of engaging with the meaning is a really interesting one. Whether or not I made the distinction clear, I think that is the two kinds of 'difficult' I am trying to describe. Though, I think we would disagree over which elements belong to which.

I think, yes, I am making accessibility the enemy of sophistication, but that is my point. Or, rather, that the two could be enemies, but not necessarily always. I would argue that The Godfather was more sophisticated because it was less accessible.

The problem with talking about any specifc examples in any medium, though, is that there will surely always be a disagreement of taste and comprehension. I think The Godfather was less accessible because there were so many names being thrown left and right before characters had appeared on-screen that keeping track of all the politics was really hard for me. Yet, it felt more rewarding when I finally got it. If, on the otherhand, the movie had cut to a shot of the character they were talking about every time, just to ensure I really 'got it' (i.e. nursing me through the narrative) it would have been far less sophisticated. At least, from my viewpoint.

As for Far Cry 2, those ludic flaws you highlight such as checkpoints very far apart, I think, help it. I think they make the consequences of your actions (and misactions) so much more significant. I think directly from being less accessible, by making the ludic language difficult to engage with, Far Cry 2 is a better experience.

But as I said, it is easy to get boggled down in any one example. These kinds of games that I am pleading for are always either going to be loved by one and hated for exactly the same reason by another, I imagine.

I do not think simply being more difficult to understand makes something more 'meaningful' or 'highbrow'. But I think by allowing it to be less easy to understand, you are allowing a space to exist where more meaning can potentially be inserted.

Mr Ak said...

Fantastic post, and I fully endorse the main argument. And I've even got what might be the purest possible example: Godfather II (the game). You exist as a character who was non-existent in the movie, yet you're present at every single major event. Even the ones where it was three people in an empty bar-room. You get to open murder police officers and blow up rivals, actions which in the Godfather would have you quietly murdered. Etc, etc.

And it's such a limiting factor, because not only does it privilege the player, it privileges such a narrow ideal of player - the kind of person who thought Gears of War had a fantastic story.

All that said, I don't know about Far Cry 2 as an example, though. I think it's got problems which go beyond the reading difficulty and its uncompromising nature. And that's encapsulated by the re-spawning checkpoints - I think they don't aid the reading, and in fact detract from it. They dehumanise the enemies, and distance the player from the murky moral elements. You're shooting the enemy because they're shooting back. It's like if Godfather II (movie) had a ten-minute action sequence. Or like if Francis Ford Coppola had cast one of his relatives instead of an actor for the third movie.

Okay, it's not that bad. But you know what I mean.

But this is precisely what I loved about Metro 2033, and possibly one reason why it polarised the reviewing community along such odd lines.

Mr Ak said...

Addendum: I possibly have an even better example. Alyx Vance. Great character, except for the fact that she's in love with a mute idiot.

Adrian Forest said...

I have two other concerns with this idea, and I've just realised how to express them.

My first concern is that your argument risks simply being reduced to personal preference. Declaring certain characteristics 'rights' and others negotiable risks being simply a declaration that What You Like is good and necessary, but the rest is not mandatory. It's a little bit like declaring that all texts must be readable in English, though they can be readable in other languages as well, I guess, y'know, if the creator feels like it. I'd argue that games should speak the language of their players, and that refusing to do so is exclusionary.

The second, related concern is that a lot of this sounds like simply re-asserting the privilege of the hardcore, that is to say, the dedicated or the mechanically-skilled. That privilege is one that I've been thrilled to see reduced drastically over the last decade or so, as games have been opened up to a wider audience. A lot of what you refer to as 'coddling', I see as simply making the gameplay accessible. I don't see that quick reflexes, a willingness to learn complex mechanical systems or simply to persist in an activity without reward should be privileged.

I guess my key point here is that I don't think that lower mechanical or reflexive difficulty is necessarily the enemy of sophistication of meaning.

The thing is that I'm not sure you can meaningfully separate 'difficulty' and 'progress'. Difficulty is, fundamentally, resistance to progression, right? If a player has the right to progress, doesn't this mean the game is flawed if the player is not reflexively skilled, disinclined to learn complex mechanical systems or simply unwilling to persist without reward? If I get frustrated at having to repeat long stretches of play in FarCry 2 and disengage with the game, this prevents me from progressing. If I as a player have the right to progress, is the game not then denying me that right? If I can't play more than a few minutes of Mega Man 9 because I lack the reflexive skill and the willingness to persist without reward, this prevents me from progressing, so isn't this the game's fault?

On a broader philosophical level, I do feel that you're attempting to reverse the Death of the Author, and to re-assert authorial privilege. I'm concerned you're attempting to re-assert the primacy of the text, by saying that the player must make all of the effort to engage with it.

Adrian Forest said...

That should read: "If a player has the right to progress, doesn't this mean the game is flawed if the player is not reflexively skilled, disinclined to learn complex mechanical systems or simply unwilling to persist without reward, and the game requires this for the player to progress?"

Brendan Keogh said...


I think our main point of disagreement is still one of accessibility. Sure, it is good to have a classic text translated into your own language, but sometimes you have to put in the hard yards and learn a foreign language so you can read the original, you know?

I do need to stress that I am not arguing for allgames to abolish these privileges, or for all games to be 'difficult'. Games that are accessible beyond the core gaming audience are important for a multitude of reasons such as harnessing a broader recognition of games, allowing for an easier introduction to games for those that have not played them previously, allowing access to players with disabilities that cannot play certain games for whatever reason, and the obvious commercial factors.

All of these are vitally important reasons why accessible games that go out of their way to privilege the player SHOULD exist. However, if we go along with the philosophy that all games should strice for this accessibilty, then I worry every game will just turn into Kinectimals.

I think the relation of 'difficulty' and 'progression' are probably important to this. The player has the right to progress, indeed. By this I mean if the player must fight a certain enemy, it must be possible for them to defeat it. This does not mean it should be easy to beat them. Games are, by defintion I believe, challenges that can be overcome--not challenges that are easy to overcome.

In a sense, yes I am trying to reverse the Death of the Author. Not all the way, mind you.I don't want to reassert authorial privilege, but I feel the author is indeed pulling most of the slack in the majority of games. The player should not have to make ALL of the effort to engage, but I believe the player must make a lot more of the effort than they currently do.

But there, perhaps, lie the crux of our disagreement. :)

Fraser Allison said...

I'm with you, Brendan - sort of. I want to see a multiplicity of approaches to game design, at all levels, not just in the indie scene.

I wouldn't personally advocate any particular design over another, except to champion the underrepresented approaches, and I think that's what you're doing here. Clint Hocking has said much the same thing: he's so vocal about his game design philosophies in part because most people don't design the way he does.

On the flip side of that coin, though, I think people who complain about inconvenience or difficulty in games, whether interpretive or mechanical, do have a legitimate case. We have to do away with the notion that a game design choice is right or wrong, and talk about what a design choice leads to. It could lead to frustration and boredom, but we can only judge that as bad through the filter of our own preferences; Far Cry 2 has frustrating, boring elements that lift the game into greatness for some players and ruin it for others.

This is the anti-game-review-scores argument, basically. Although I'm fine with review scores, as long as they're interpreted as the highly subjective judgements they inevitably are.

As an aside, the word "privilege" has a particular meaning that's central to feminism. I think you might already know about that, since you've used it in a consistent manner although for a different subject, but you might find some people see a headline like that one and expect a different sort of article.

Brendan Keogh said...

Hey Fraser. Thanks for stoppingby and leaving one of your thoughtful comments. :)
Those are exactly the connotations of privilege that I was hoping to invoke. Without meaning to imply in any way that this issues is as important as the challenges inherent in male/white privileges (which it certainly is not), the meanings of privilege in feminist et al discourses is really useful for the kind of point I am trying to get at. Every time male privilege is challenged (or ‘threatened’), you see otherwise-rational males making all kinds of irrational, illogical excuses because they don’t actually understand what they are actually fighting against, that they are actually in a position of privilege (Most recently on the comments of Leigh Alexander’s Gamasutra feature, which I imagine you already saw). Similarly, I feel this is the way the player reacts when the privileges they are accustomed to in games is challenged—though the comments I am getting are far more rational and logical! So yes, I am aware of how I used ‘privilege’ and I hope that doesn’t offend anyone!
I fully agree that a multiplicity of approaches to game design should be cheered. Certainly, I do not want to see all games fall into a narrow definition of high-brow that ends up just being “games that Brendan likes”. A game can still be fun with player privileges intact. I tried to acknowledge that in the article but I probably didn’t stress it enough.
However, I feel plenty of games that fall short of the highly ambitious aesthetic/thematic goals they set themselves do so because of their submission to player privilege. I feel some games just miss the mark because, afraid of how the player will react if their privilege is challenged, they implement design aspects that make the game easier to play but less in tune to an overall style. That’s when we end up with point scoring systems in Call of Duty 4 (rewards of quantity instead of quality), or respawn vats in BioShock (diminishing the challenge to the player), or key plot characters in Oblivion that can only ever be knocked unconscious (removing consequence from the player’s actions).
So yeah, there are infinite ways to make games and all are equally valid. Even the examples above would be acceptable to different tastes and could be justified as easily as they could be attacked. I think, personally, I just want more designers to feel okay with taking more risks for the game’s sake that might not go down so well with spoilt players, and I think this will only happen if players decide they are cool with that.

Brendan Keogh said...

Oh dear, Blogger! What ever did you do with my line breaks?!

Adrian Forest said...

But that's the thing: in many cases your 'privilege' is my 'accessibility'. The respawn vats in BioShock I credit as improving the game's accessibility, because they reduce repetition and give the player a more secure position from which they can take actions that would otherwise be too risky to try. I appreciate the inability to permanently kill key characters in Oblivion because it means players know they can act without fear of jeopardising their ability to progress in the game.

Accessibility doesn't have to mean a reduction of challenge or sophistication or meaning. This is the problem I have when 'hardcore' gamers complain about games being 'dumbed down'. Complaints like that are what I'd call 'hardcore privilege', and I to be honest think that's closer to the sense in which 'privilege' is generally used.

Mr Ak said...


I think, for me at least, it depends mostly on thematic/narrative context.

Let me elaborate with one Brendan didn't include, and which isn't really related to difficulty. I think it fits, though. The player does not always have the right to know when a choice is being made.

In Bioshock, the one moral choice you make is crystal clear. And it's a fantastic moment, an excellent boiling down of the game's artistic thesis into one beautiful shining moment. Every choice after that is simply the reinforcement of that original choice (I forget who said that - I think either Leigh Alexander, N'Gai Croal, or Stephen Totilo).

In a game like Far Cry 2, though, or Metro 2033, you're making moral choices moment by moment, in a way the game never explicitly points out to you. If these choices took the standard game design model, they'd lose their impact. It's when you realise that you can just put a bullet in Michelle's head, or that you can let the Nazis breach the tunnel while you just sit and wait, that you realise those games brilliance.

It's not that the privileges exist as options or tools, it's that they exist so often as inalienable rights. The in-game context should define their usage.

(As for Vita chambers, that's a tricky one. I turned 'em off, I know a lot of people didn't. And they've the obvious narrative significance as well. For me, there, having the *option* to turn them off was important.)

Brendan Keogh said...

Thanks Mark. That is a far better example than any of those I pulled off the top of my head. :)

Adrian, I agree that my 'privilege' is your 'accessibility', but beyond that I disagree. I do not think I am reinstating the privilege of the hardcore (though it is a very interesting way of looking at it that got me thinking) as I am not claiming we should end casual games. Rather, the games that are already directed at the core audience (I do so hate the term hardcore), should not be afraid to be less accessible if it is able to give a deeper experience. And not just 'less accessible' in the 'more difficult' sense, but, like Mark's example, by not explicitly telling the player what they are doing.

Another better example from my own experiences, perhaps, would be Half-Life 2. The first time through, the story made little sense and had heaps of plot holes because i just happened to look the wrong way too many times and miss the small events that hinted at the plot. Yet, discovering these things on my own on a second playthrough was so much more rewarding than if the game forced me to watch events to ensure I watched it. I missed out on story elements and it was my fault. I think that may be a better example of removing player privilege (accessibility, if you will) that is not directly related to gameplay difficulty.

Though, obviously we disagree on whether or not a game can be 'better' while being less accessible, or if the two are in opposition. I hate to come to a stalemate, but perhaps we have to disagree on that? Which is not to say I am completely ignoring your comments. You make some very valid points that I would certainly take into account if I take this line of thought any further, and I appreciate the input :).

Dolgion said...

You have a very valid and good point there. I personally hate it in "Open world" RPGs when they make it very difficult or impossible for me to enter areas where I'll certainly get my ass kicked.

The Shape Of Games To Come said...

While I too would like to see greater consequence for player actions, I think I would draw a critical difference between in-game consequence and real world consequence. I though Heavy Rain was fantastic largely because of how it handled this; I could lose whole characters, cut off entire potential plot branches and gameplay sequences, etc. based on how I acted in a particular scene. That was great.

What is not at all great is for me to be punished outside of the game for my actions. This has two possible consequences for me, both of which are bad. The first is that the narrative of the game is broken. I died a lot playing Mirror's Edge. And at the end of the day, that reinforced something for me - that the character of Faith could not possibly have done what the game said she did with the skillset the game gave me unless she ran into an almost infinitely improbable string of good luck. The second consequence is that the game has essentially wasted some of my life. Do I have to go back and replay the past hour of gameplay because there was no checkpoint? Then I have just lost an hour of my life, and now I will have to spend another hour just to get back to where I already was. That's not meaningful consequence, that's abuse.

This goes back to something that Jonathan Blow has talked about, which is respecting the player's time. I want to play games that respect my time. If a game is grindy or punishing, if it requires that I spend time practicing to use abilities rather than actually using those abilities, if it erases the effort I have put in, then that is a game that is disrespectful of me as a person with a limited life span and not nearly enough free time, and I have no interest in supporting that.

Adrian Forest said...

A distinction between in-game consequences and real-world ones seems like an excellent basis for the distinction between privilege and accessibility.

Brendan Keogh said...

@Shape Of Games To Come

That is a very good point and, as Adrian has already suggested, may be a good foundation to get us out of the privilege/accessibility stalemate our conversation seems to have gotten into.

Your Mirror's Edge example is a good one. The difficulty there is not making the player's experience more meaningful, but many times more meaningless.

However, can player and character consequence be truly distinguished from one another? I agree with your feelings towards Heavy Rain; that was largely the reason I enjoyed the game, also. But could it be argued that the player does suffer consequences from their own actions by not being able to access certain scenes if they are responsible for the character's death?

Actually, I am going to argue against that myself. No, the player is not suffering a consequence as the player continues to progress regardless. Whereas in the Mirror's Edge example, the player does suffer because they must keep repeating the same section over and over.

Hmm. This is an interesting aspect that I have obviously not thought hard enough about. I am going to consider this and use it to clarify this argument further. Thanks!

Eyvah Ehyeh said...

Tell Tales "Realtime Art Manifesto" comes to mind:


Also Jonathan Blow's philosophies concerning video games and gratification. Braid implements some of these thoughts (spawning or time reversal not being one of them, even if it rather is about "accesability" :P), for example in the fact that you have to collect all puzzle pieces to reach the end, that the sound when getting a puzzle piece is dissonant and therefore puts the gratification from doing an action/solving a puzzle on top of the shallow "PLING!" of super marios and the likes.

Eyvah Ehyeh said...

Also, check out comment #13 by the creator of following "game":


Eyvah Ehyeh said...

Sorry for posting so much! Check out this game!


Or Portal for that matter. :)

Ryan said...

@Shape Of Games To Come

Heavy Rain doesn't have real world consequence only if you accept the story your actions create. If you get to the end of the game and the boy dies but you want to play again and rescue the boy, then the game becomes just like Mirrors Edge. You have to repeat sequences until you don't fail.

The difference between Mirrors Edge and Heavy Rain is that Heavy Rain's narrative can handle "failure" during play, whereas Mirrors Edge can't.

Some of the Heavy Rain sequences can be quite difficult. Difficult enough that you could say saving the boy is just an "infinitely improbable string of good luck".

Ryan said...

Crap. I put a spoiler alert ahead of my comment, but stupidly put it in angle brakets which caused it to be interpreted as html. Sorry.

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