You know those little moments when you leave the ship? “Logged. The Commanding officer is ashore. XO Presley has the deck.” I loved those. You know what else I liked? Leaving the ship. Man, I really missed that airlock. I can’t explain why. I mean, it was just another loading screen, but for some reason the quasi-seamless travel from ship to shore really made the ship feel like a craft that went somewhere, and not a really large menu for selecting the next mission. I know I whined and bellyached about that airlock scanner. (And to be fair, it was kind of annoying.) But I really missed it when they switched to using the dropship.
I appreciate the little touches of quasi-military. The really odd thing is, so many videogames embrace the “explosions, bullets, and shouting” military stuff. They model real-world weapons and vehicles. They take you to real-world locations. But they skim over nearly everything to do with military culture. People salute at the wrong times, handle their weapons in the wrong way, address each other incorrectly, forget about the chain of command, and you never get any of the nuances of military culture. In the United States military, there’s a pretty big divide between the officers and the enlisted. There’s also a bit of sneering condescension between the various branches. Then there’s the wall of divide between the military and civilians. This is mostly lost in videogames, where you just have a bunch of young guys running around screaming “sarge!” all the time.
I understand it’s a game, and meticulous simulation would be just as tedious as the real thing. But the little touches of military culture and formality really made me happy. I’d love to have a game where someone would shout “Captain on the bridge!” when you entered the bridge. I guess I’m not asking for a game that gets it all right, I’m just suggesting that a game that sprinkles these details in will be able to make their military seem more lifelike.
Then again, it just might drive people bonkers if they’ve served in the actual military and all they see are all the little details the developers got wrong. So there’s that.
Joker's Last Laugh
Did you anticipate the big plot twist of Batman: Arkham City? Here's all the ways the game hid that secret from you while also rubbing your nose in it.
Batman: Arkham City
A look back at one of my favorite games. The gameplay was stellar, but the underlying story was clumsy and oddly constructed.
id Software Coding Style
When the source code for Doom 3 was released, we got a look at some of the style conventions used by the developers. Here I analyze this style and explain what it all means.
The plot of this game isn't just dumb, it's actively hostile to the player. This game hates you and thinks you are stupid.
The story of me. If you're looking for a picture of what it was like growing up in the seventies, then this is for you.