It’s that time once again to break open a nice chilled bottle of 2005 Château Pétrus and talk of the more important issues of life such as weather treating your yacht, how full lobster and caviar can make you feel after the annual “Saving the White Tigers” dinner benefit, or in this case, pointless game aspects.
It’s things in games that make you think “I’m… but…. wh… why are you here?” Yes, we see it all the time and what follows are just a few of these that really get my tie in a knot. That’s right, everyone, it’s another Black Tie Event!
“Why are you here?”
So you are cruising through town. Just got done slaying some monsters and you get a tip from a local that the enemy master mind is waiting for you. You followed a path that takes you to a nearby town looking for a chance to cool off, take it easy, and maybe get a clue for the next big adventure. Then you come across this person…
Now at first you may be thinking, “OK, sorry to bother, didn’t know you didn’t have any information. Sorry again. I’ll just be on my way.” But when it continues throughout the game… you have to think to yourself… WTF WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE THEN?! And it’s a good question. Anytime I play an adventure game, I think the conversation starts by me walking up to a NPC and saying “Hello”. Has anyone ever in the history of the world answered a “Hello” with a “I know nothing”? Then why are you here? Why did the programmer think it was necessary to have a character that knows absolutely nothing would benefit the player? I know that in real life, sometimes people just can’t help you. But this is a game… a game. It’s pointless to have such a waste of code.
“Why did I just do that then?”
There are quite a few games out there on many a console that allow you to save your game under a recognizable name, traditionally your name. As an added bonus, the main character will also be referred to as your name. So instead of “Hey, weird looking guy who thinks he’s going on a quest to save the princess when we all know you are just going to die a horrible horrible death.” they will call you Jim, or Steve, or whatever your name might be. Things like this really bring you into a game by personalizing it. Then you have games that just don’t do that.
At the start of a game, you are asked to input your name… so you do. Then while playing the game, the characters seem not to care about the player’s input and decides to call him or her whatever they feel like it. If that’s the case, why did I have to put my name in? Now, I know that a few of you are thinking “Well, that way I know that it’s my saved game file and not someone else’s.” Especially on an 8-bit console, there’s typically no more than three (3) saved game spots. Sometimes only one. Are you telling me that you can’t remember if you are first, second, or third? Because that is ridiculous and I refuse to believe it. If you are not going to use what ever sweet unique “better than anyone else can come up with”-kind of name then don’t tell me input it… just don’t. Because I get my hopes up that someone is going to call me “Socks the Clown” and I get “Mike” instead.
“Why is that there?”
Heads up displays or HUDs are beneficial to the player so that they are aware of the most important things in the game: score, health, lives, current item selected, etc. And that’s it, right? Well not all the time. I would like to introduce: “Worthless attempt to cover up game screen for whatever reason!”
Here’s a prime example of “What the hell is that doing there?” At first I was thinking, “Oh, the programmers want me to know that I’m playing as a ninja.” Then I noticed that I’m the only sprite on the screen that’s dressed in black and looks like a ninja. Then I thought “Well… maybe it’s to keep track of my health. The more bloody and bruised he gets the less health I have.” Nope. That’s not it. So what’s it for? Nothing… absolutely nothing. It’s just there to be there. Maybe the programmers didn’t want to draw the rest of the screen, got lazy, then thought “Here’s how we cover it up so we can do less work!” And it does the trick, it really does. But, looking back on it, it makes me think “What’s behind the overly-large head of the ninja? Could it be candy?!” We will never know. But what we do know, is that it’s pointless. Utterly pointless.
I know there’s tons more out there in the video gaming universe. What bothers you? Leave your comments in the space provided below. And remember to keep it classy. We’re not sporting William Fioravanti Bespoke suits for nothing, am I right? Of course I am.