Taking in the Scenery

The author() of this article poses a challenging question, “Is experience enough for play?”. If we aren’t the spaces created for us as they were designed, are we really even playing the game? Now this doesn’t apply to all games, stopping the story to see what is on the far side of the map is actively discouraged in most narrative based/linear games, This article is specifically talking about open world games however.

Open world games allow us to craft our own experiences in many ways, choosing which aspects of quests and challenges to take on and allowing that kind of wandering. That’s part of play, but usually some forward motion is implied when we talk about play, some accomplishment. Are we accomplishing as we wander? What if we go no further than that?

As Alisha points out open world games are designed to allow us to create our own experience, generally more fully realising emergant gameplay than other, more linear games. She also ties it to an implied progression, that as we play we alwasy have a tacit understanding that we must move forward, to reach an end point. But what if? What if we don’t go any further than immersion? Is the sole point of picking up a new title, to reach the end, to beat it?

It can, and certainly is, well argued that this is indeed the case. However if we stop to think about the countless time and effort put into these landscapes and little minor details, don’t we have something of an obligation to try to see as much of it as possible, out of respect for the artists if nothing else. An equally viable arguement to think about is that if we are not full exploring every game, are we really ever finishing a game? So much of a game’s content is visual and we generally just run through it all looking for more enemies to kill, more story to unlock. We should all take things a little slower, and every once in a while, stop and just take in the beautiful handcrafted scenery.

At the end of the day, gameplay is going to be whatever the player decides it to be, be that completeing every sidequest, murdering every NPC in the game, or spending weeks just running around like a tourist, and every player is going to be right.


Written in response to the article available at:http://www.nymgamer.com/?p=12299

Skeletons in Fallout 4’s Closet


It’s hard to disagree with the sentiments expressed in this article, as the author explains his feelings towards the various skeletons he he stumbles upon in the wasteland.

Last week I found a sole skeleton sat in a chair, a pistol nearby, bullets placed carefully on a table. Chems and beer were strewn about the place. I imagined the skeleton plucking up the courage to end it all, no doubt as an army of Ghouls tore at the door.

As you come across these game objects, visually different from any corpse you may create for yourself, you are enticed into wondering about the story behind them, what might have been happening here right as the bombs fell?

The author finds himself wondering if there is ‘boss’ of skeletons, in fact maybe even a leader of a team of skeleton artists dedicated to placing these scenes around the game world. I have to say, if this is a job that I can apply for point me in the right direction!

The signature skeletons from fallout are just one of a number of small additions that server to tell a far more compelling story than any of the quests available. While the quest line storytelling in Fallout 4 is mediocre at best, leaving much to be desired as far as a narrative, it is all these little easter eggs and hidden snippets of story that really make the post-war wastelands a joy to explore.


Written in response to the article available at http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-11-26-why-i-love-fallout-4-skeletons.