Scare me like it’s 1998
I’m not going to lie, I’m all for a slick gaming experience. Whether it’s VR, huge arcade-style cabinets, or a giant chunky plastic peripheral you need to buy for your controller, I’m smitten with it all. I’ve even followed the niche community of streamers who make unconventional controllers, as a gamer who’s been making their way Elden Ring on a dance pad controller.
As hardware continues to improve, it’s great to see how we can innovate in the use of the physical components we interact with to further immerse ourselves in a game’s world. From this ninth generation of consoles, we’ve seen PlayStation make some impressive strides in this regard. Putting aside what I think about the new The last of us new version, I have to admit that using the controller’s haptic feedback to let players “feel” dialogue is a cool move, especially in the way that it will allow disabled players to experience the game.
There are also adaptive triggers, which I find more interesting in theory than in practice. It can be interesting that certain weapons feel different with adaptive trigger, but the feature’s implementation is still young enough that I think we have more to do with how developers use it for story. I’ll keep an eye out for new releases that claim to use triggers more.
As for what Xbox or PC modders are doing in this regard, I have no idea considering I’ve fostered a PlayStation family, but I’m sure someone will let me know in the comments.
Gaming Hardware Moments I Love
Of course, this is just a modern example that comes to mind considering it’s been in the news recently. Over the years, there have been countless mechanics in games that require you to do something special with the hardware, whether for narrative purposes or not.
My first thought regarding my own encounters with unique hardware-centric gameplay mechanics was that when I played nintendogs When you were a kid, you could blow into the microphone to blow bubbles for your puppies. It was a small, simple mechanic within the larger scope of the game, but my little nine-year-old mind was in awe, nonetheless it might as well have been magic, as far as my little brain was concerned.
Another little moment that I love is the section of What remains of Edith Finch which focuses on Lewis, particularly how he escapes his own mind while working at the cannery. The game uses a simple control scheme where the use of each joystick is linked to the different realities between which it is debated. To begin with, you use the right stick to chop fish, while the left stick begins to control a knight character in Lewis’s imagination.
As the sequence progresses, the fantasy draws more and more of Lewis’s attention, thus taking up more screen space, and players must keep up the steady rhythm of right-handed slicing fish while navigating environments each time. more complicated with the left. It’s not a world-breaking use of hardware at one point in the story, but using a simple and narratively relevant control scheme to get to the point of the panel is something I find incredibly moving every time I play it. .
Nobody can do it like metal gear
However, the example that inspired this feature is from a game I’ve never played before: solid metal gear. I had heard rumors that player encounters with the Psycho Mantis were some of the scariest in gaming, but when I heard the whole story as to why, I was blown away.
For those unfamiliar, the iconic boss fight from the first game in the series features an enemy that can read your mind and uses a few tricks that still feel innovative today, let alone when the game came out in 1998.
First, Psycho Mantis “reads” the player’s memory card and makes derisive comments about other games they have played. He then asks you to place your controller on the ground so he can show off how powerful it is before the controller starts roaring like crazy. Apparently, if you placed the controller on a table, it might as well crash to the ground spectacularly. Finally, Psycho Mantis evades all of the player’s attacks, stating that he can read his mind, and it isn’t until the player moves the controller to the controller’s second port that the player can hit him, because he can’t “read “. his mind ”never again.
metal gearThe legacy of is so multifaceted, but this gameplay sequence has to be my favorite thing to come out of the series as someone on the fringes of the franchise. It’s such creative game design, and while I certainly didn’t play it when it came out considering it was two years old, the way people talk about it makes me wish I’d seen its impact on the gaming landscape of 1998.
I can’t imagine how disturbing that must have been at the time, and the fact that he’s still talking about it today clearly shows how influential that moment was, and by extension the entire metal gear series, has been in the games as a whole.
I’m sure there are plenty of other great examples of hardware-focused story moments in games, but that’s the only one I’m really aware of that’s directly related to the narrative experience, and it’s certainly done more masterfully than any other. attempt to bring hardware. in a game I’ve seen. Think of any other moments like that that I’ve missed, but otherwise, this is my plea to game designers to implement more story moments that are told through innovative hardware mechanics. It’s creative, it’s unique, and it’s something I haven’t seen as affected as it was in 1998, even with all of our next-generation innovations. Make it happen, developers.