Friday, 6 March 2009

Starved for Attention

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:

"Dude, check it out! I'm nekkid!"

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


  1. I can't remember if Fable did this, but that's the only one I can possibly think of.

    As for Steam, every now and then it completely pisses me off still. Two examples recently in fact:

    1.To my surprise, FEAR2 is a Steam game, so even if you buy it from a shop and have a disc you have to have Steam running while you play it. This wasn't a problem until I'd installed the game, then it tried to "update" for no reason. It hung on 0% for an hour, by which time I'd scoured the message boards and luckily found the simple solution of restarting Steam. I did and it worked straight away - but it should've worked first time, and there's still many people on the boards that it doesn't work for.
    2. Me and Beats12 tried to play Call of Duty: World At War through Steam so we could chat easier. We couldn't connect even though we'd both patched to the latest version. On a whim we tried it without Steam and it worked perfectly. Grr.

  2. Nick Brakespear9 March 2009 at 13:15

    So, the free UT3 weekend has ended, and I never once got beyond 32%

    Congratulations Epic; after shitting on fans of the franchise by utterly consolifying it, you couldn't even GIVE the game away.

    Oh, I know they don't have control over steam, but to be honest they deserve such bitchiness anyway.

  3. I miss Digital Extremes being Epic's bitch.

    "You're a development house too Epic, why can't you make some of these games?"
    "Oh, well, we're just SO tired after making this new Unreal Engine. Now why don't you be good little boys and finish up our games for us."