7.21.2011

Top Three Things I Miss About Video Games

Let's be real.
What I miss most is chocobos.
I used to play video games like an addict, and I think that may have shaped some of my literary tastes towards fast paced and full of action. Nonetheless I decided, a few years ago, to go cold turkey on games and get things done in life. Instead of gaining hours of free time, I gained an internet addiction. On the whole I am not sure it's an equal trade. The loading times are as bad or worse (especially with my internet tower dissolving). And there are some things that I really miss from video games that just don't translate well into written work: 
  • 1. Exaggerated physical abilities. 
Especially as demonstrated by double jumping. In Devil May Cry, an excellent game, you have to unlock the skill, but once you do, you can jump, and then jump again in midair. In videogame land I jump everywhere.

(Perhaps I was a rabbit in a past life?) I do get genuinely annoyed if I encounter a videogame that does not allow me to jump with abandon. When they let me jump only as a special and relevant action button, it's the worst. I feel so controlled.
  • 2. Even more exaggerated weapons. 
Disregard the crap-art.
Notice the impressive sword.
The size of swords in Final Fantasy games is one of the best things. Be the sword six feet long or one foot wide, IRL the characters' greatest threats would be their arms falling off.

(I assume this is what happens when you lift heavy things - I try to avoid testing the theory.) And yet these weapons are carried cheerily across the worldmap. Not to mention that the characters seem to have invisible packmules. Note: I think VII was the best soap opera, full of nonsense and betrayal and amnesia and tragedy.
  • 3. Voice acting.
The voice acting was always. So. Good. 

It really added another layer to the plot developments and character appreciation. And none could ever come close to the excellent voice acting in the Devil May Cry series. That game should have been, and was, the one to fill my dark soul with light.
    • But in writing...
    These are things I miss. And yet they are high on the ridiculous spectrum as it is, and would be worse in writing. I like badass characters, but you gotta reign them in a little. They need weaknesses and emotions. Don't tell me they can doublejump off the air, or I can't take their life problems seriously. They can't have invisible pack mules - you need to think about what your characters could actually carry on their adventures. (Problems are tripled if your character is a shapeshifter.) And if the character's sword is bigger than he is, you need to provide a reason. 

    Most importantly, any character monologuing should not bring tears of laughter to your readers' eyes. Because they probably won't be laughing with you.
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