Perhaps I'm an exhibitionist, but if I take all my clothes off, people should notice. If I throw a potted plant at someone's head, they should at least call me a twat. If I stare at a woman's breasts for ten minutes straight, there should be an application of knee to nuts, or at least a bit of a frown.
Put quite simply; if I'm acting like wanker, someone should call me a wanker. Is that so much to ask?
A few games have done this over the years, to a varying degree. But I can't help but feel that while the industry is focusing so much upon graphics and physics, they're letting the potentially gratifying "little details" slip away.
This modern trend for "achievements" is, perhaps, a step in the right direction; recognition for the quirks of player behaviour. But it's also a step in the wrong direction when it comes to singleplayer games. I don't want some ethereal message telling me that yes, I did in fact jump off a building for no apparent reason. I want an NPC to point at the bloody mess that once was me, laugh, and aptly observe, "what a tit!"
Portal had achievements, but who gives a flying fuck, really? Surely having that crazy AI inform you that "you're not a good person" after you exploit your way through a puzzle is infinitely more satisfying.
So yeah, I'm playing through Oblivion again. And this is how the game isn't:
In spite of the supposedly advanced "radiant AI" system Oblivion uses, I could teabag the entire Imperial Legion, and Sean Bean would still be staring at me blankly, talking about Oblivion gates or somesuch. Oh, if I punch him in the nuts, he'll get angry and pull an angry face. But other than that; it's like there's a line of code somewhere in there that says, "just ignore him, and he'll get bored and go cover somebody else's bed with Daedra hearts."
All those times I've massacred the entire population of the Imperial City? It's just a cry for help, because none of the fuckers were paying attention to me.
I saved the world from demons. I fought the demons right in front of Sean Bean, all the while shouting, "LOOK DAD! LOOK! ARE YOU LOOKING!? YOU'RE NOT LOOKING! WATCH ME SMITE THE DEMON!"
And did he look? Did he fuck. Sean Bean's no father of mine.
So I opened up the TES Construction Kit and unticked his immortality box. Yeah bitch, how you gonna fall "unconscious" now?
Also, I hate Steam again. Why offer me the chance to play Unreal Tournament 3 for free, when the servers can't handle the inevitable locust-like swarm of cheapskate gamers? THE SWARM HUNGERS. GIEV FREE GAME NOW. Even if it probably is a bit naff, and an insult to the memory of the original.
- Nick Brakespear