Allow me to elaborate on the gameplay suggestion I made in this episode:
This was originally my idea for making a tabletop game designed around an “action blockbuster” aesthetic. In movies, heroes can get away with all sorts of outrageous stuff that you’d never do in real life: Long falls, ridiculous car jumps, standing in the open during gunfire, leaping between vehicles, etc. These moments make movies fun to watch, but if there’s too many of them then the whole world turns into a cartoon parody of itself. One car jump is fun, but ten car jumps is silly and dumb. The hero standing in the open shooting is cool for ten seconds, but it’s stupid if they always do it.
So my idea was to have some sort of “credulity” based economy, where the players could spend some pointsI actually called them “bullshit points”. to do something amazing. Lots of tabletop systems have stuff like this (fate points come to mind) but my plan was to build a game around this one mechanic.
That never panned out, but I’d love to see something similar used in a videogame:
- A bad guy shoots at you in the open and he misses automatically, because of course the bad guy always misses on the first shot.
- The second shot starts eating away at the player’s “hero meter” or whatever, with each successive shot eating more and more of their supply of hero points. The bad guys keep missing, but the audience will only accept them missing for so long. The player needs to dive behind cover or else…
- If the player runs out of hero points, then they get shot and die.
- Hero points can be (partly) replenished in combat if you do something impressive, exciting, or action-movie-esque: Shove a guy off a ledge. One-shot someone in the head. Shoot something explosive that blows dudes up. Swat a grenade back at the bad guys. Use some bit of environment to kill a dude. Use the environment to do something cool. Basically, the goal is to keep the player moving, looking for interesting ways to dispatch foes that don’t involve standing in the open or playing boring stop-n-pop cover shooting. Our other goal is to do away with the “health” mechanic itself, where you take dozens of gunshot wounds on your journey but patch over them with “medkits” you find.
Tonally, I don’t think this would work with a Last of Us style game, which is more drama than action adventure. But this could work for something Uncharted-ish.
Also, this episode totally went up on the 17th.
 I actually called them “bullshit points”.
Video Compression Gone Wrong
How does image compression work, and why does it create those ugly spots all over some videos and not others?
Internet News is All Wrong
Why is internet news so bad, why do people prefer celebrity fluff, and how could it be made better?
Silent Hill 2 Plot Analysis
A long-form analysis on one of the greatest horror games ever made.
Quakecon 2011 Keynote Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
Mass Effect Retrospective
A novel-sized analysis of the Mass Effect series that explains where it all went wrong. Spoiler: It was long before the ending.