Monday, 11 July 2011

World Shattering

Okay so it’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog mainly due to the fact I’ve not had much to write about. Regardless of this while writing up some game design ideas I had I’ve found a topic to write about!
This topic as the world so subtlety suggests is to do with the shattering of worlds or in the case of this blog, the seemingly primal urge of most gamers to try break the world of the game they’re playing, sandbox or not.
It seems to me that anytime myself or almost every gamer I know gets in contact with a new game, the first thing we do are test the limits of its reality. Is this a case of us wanting to re-assure ourselves that it is really a game for the time that games and reality are impossible to determine?
Unlikely, but I think the real cause is that the majority gamers judge the quality of a game based on the quality of its graphics and its reality. Give the majority of modern gamers; referring here to those who grew up in the late PlayStation 2 or early Xbox 360 era, a game from the 90s or even some modern indie games and they’ll look at you as though you’re crazy, as the visual fidelity does not match what they consider the sign of a good game.
Another reason I think the reality of a game is key is due to the fact many gamers want to see the cause and effect of their actions to give weight to a choice they have chosen or an action they have performed.
An example of this for me would be the changing world of a Grand Theft Auto game to either show the passing of time in years, or the opening of new areas much like the mansion in Vice City.
This example being a sandbox game however is also reflected in games that are not in essence sandbox games, games such as Resident Evil. The formula of Resident Evil is probably farthest you could get from the sandbox of GTA; however the quality of the gameplay is hindered by the non-obvious obstructions in the original incarnations of these games.
The modern Resident Evil’s while keeping a similar formula show this cause and effect allowing the player to “know” and comprehend the reason for not being able to go backwards whether that be a security door locking due to the zombie infestation rather than an invisible barrier to stop inquisitive players.
Anyways to get to the point I think that the quality of a games reality relates to the fact players want to break the world to see if it reacts to their actions. It’s similar to a child poking a cat because it’s not doing anything, it’s not because they want it to break, it’s because they want it to respond.