Jump to content

  • Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Welcome to BZPower!

Hi there, while we hope you enjoy browsing through the site, there's a lot more you can do if you register. Some perks of joining include:
  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
  • Show off your creations, stories, art, music, and movies
  • Enter contests to win free LEGO sets and other prizes
  • Participate in raffles to win LEGO prizes
  • Organize with other members to attend or send your MOCs to LEGO fan events all over the world
  • Much, much more!
Enjoy your visit!





Photo

Showing, Not Telling

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , in Essays, Not Rants! Mar 02 2019 · 182 views

Essays, Not Rants! 361: Showing, Not Telling

There’s this saying in writing that you should show, not tell; that is instead of telling the audience about how John is smart, write a scene where we get to see that John is smart. That way the audience can see how smart John is and think to themselves "Wow, John is smart." Idea is because the audience drew their own conclusion (rather than being told such) it’ll resonate more.

A similar rule of thumb applies to video games, except instead of just seeing something it’s better to be able to play it. Watching a character fight a boss is one thing, getting to actually fight that boss is fantastic. Over the years, there have been different attempts by different game designers to figure out how to let players play scenes. Half Life never took control away from the player, allowing them to look around outside the tram car as they made their way into Black Mesa (or muck around in a room as a scientist provided story information). A clunkier solution was the use of quick time events, interactive cutscenes where you’d essentially press a button for your character not to die and the scene to continue. At its worst, these QTEs interrupted the flow of the game/cutscene: throwing in reflex-based minigames when you least expect it, forcing you to do over these scenes again and again.

The rationale behind QTEs – letting the player remain involved in scenes that don’t quite work with the controls – is a good one. Kingdom Hearts II had a really neat solution: Reaction Commands. During some fights with some enemies, a prompt would appear where if you hit triangle you would trigger a special move. If you were fighting a Samurai Nobody, you could trigger a stand-off where Sora and his opponent face off in a samurai movie style duel. Other Reaction Commands have him using an enemy’s abilities against the other bad guys or allowing for some really cool moves in boss fights. It adds depth to combat and, importantly and let’s the player be the one who pulls off that anime-esque move.

It’s been a while since that game came out, though, and in the meantime others have been figuring out how to let the player take a more active role. Uncharted 2 let the player still be in control during big set pieces, like maneuvering through a collapsing building, fighting bad guys, and then jumping through the breaking window into the building next door. It’s a fairly typical trope for an action movie, but what makes it so cool in Uncharted 2 is that you are the one who does it. It’s not a cutscene or even a qte, you’re in complete control of Drake as he scrambles around. The bar was raised and many games followed suit, finding ways to keep the player in control during big moments, further immersing the player into the game.

All this brings me (once more) to Kingdom Hearts III where a lot of the action is not just unplayable but actually takes place off screen.

I’m gonna be talking about the ending here too, so there are spoilers beyond this point!

Spoiler


I have my issues with Kingdom Hearts III, particularly how its pacing feels so darn weird. That so much of the plot happens off screen, including a vital part of the epilogue, leaves the player (me) feeling really unfulfilled. Point is, show, don’t tell; and if you’re making a video game, let us play the important bits.

  • 2



Photo
Jedi Master J.
Mar 02 2019 11:04 PM

Spoiler

 

- JMJ 2019

    • 0
Photo
Super Fighting Pahrak
Mar 03 2019 11:47 AM
Spoiler
    • 1
Photo
Jedi Master J.
Mar 03 2019 01:53 PM

Spoiler

 

- JMJ 2019

    • 0
Photo
Super Fighting Pahrak
Mar 03 2019 08:44 PM
Spoiler
    • 1
Photo
Jedi Master J.
Mar 03 2019 11:49 PM

Spoiler

 

- JMJ 2019

    • 0
Photo
Ta-metru_defender
Mar 04 2019 12:32 AM

Ah, I love you both.

 

JMJ, I'm with Pahrak on this one. KH II does have the best ending of the games, hands down. I loved the tragedy of it, of people nobodies like Axel and Namine giving their lives for Sora and friends; all that. Heck, the melancholy throughout the game (Roxas' end of summer continues to be a gutpunch) is so well done that one of my biggest frustrations is how so much of that is undercut.

 

That said, the Wayfinder Trio's reunion was actually really sweet and I did like that (even if, again, so much for tragedy). Maybe I was just hoping for more melancholy than I got, and then when it finally happens with Sora it feels weak because, well, look at how everyone came back!

 

Finally, Spider-Man's fantastic with its storytelling, using phone calls and banter to communicate character as much as cutscenes. I kinda give its QTEs a pass because they seldom happen during cutscenes proper but as a beat during action scenes — and the command prompts are tied to the controls in the game (O = dodge, X = jump, R1/L1 = web).

    • 1
Photo
Jedi Master J.
Mar 04 2019 07:05 AM

Fair enough.

 

For record though, KH 2 is my favorite KH game, so I definitely get what you both mean about the game. Although as someone that grew attached to those characters, I find it hard to be angry with them returning in some form later.

 

Also I kind feel similar with like the tragedy in Rogue One. Like it is a good film, but I will admit that hate that this was all that we got with this cast of characters as it feels like such a waste to me (Honestly it is why I am excited for Cassian Andor show since it at least means we get something more with some of cast from that film in that.). I am not saying I want them survive the mission, but I will admit that much rather had that as cap end to film series involving those characters rather than just being one and done like that. *shrugs*

 

But anyway, as for Spider-Man, I am look forward playing more when I get it back from my brother.

 

- JMJ 2019

    • 0
Photo
Ta-metru_defender
Mar 05 2019 12:38 AM

I too wish we had more time with the folks from Rogue One, but that's what makes it so beautiful: that feeling of loss.

 

Roxas is a fantastic character, and that the book was closed on his chapter (okay, lousy idioms) was beautifully sad. Left me wanting more, but there was none. Traaaagedy.

    • 1
Photo
Super Fighting Pahrak
Mar 05 2019 12:24 PM

Honestly I always felt Roxas’s ending (in II) was a happy one.

 

He spent so much time with no idea who he was, filled with rage and confusion, and everyone telling him he didn’t matter and had to go back to being who he used to be, and the prologue does go the tragic route with him being forced to do just that.  But then, in The World That Never Was, he rages against Sora directly, and after getting that catharsis he’s able to see that being Sora again isn’t all that bad.  He accepts it on his own terms.  When he and Namine have their conversation amidst the fights with Xemnas, and when Sora and Riku return to Destiny Islands and we see Roxas and Namine smiling at each other through their original selves…they just seemed happy.  Happy that they could be themselves again, be whole again despite always being told that kind of healing was impossible.  It always seemed to me like they were finally able to find peace.

 

So when later games suddenly said “they’re HURTING!”, it really took me by surprise.

    • 1
Photo
Ta-metru_defender
Mar 05 2019 08:48 PM

Bittersweet! Tragedy can be bittersweet! And I was happy with that being that. I think what I'm saying about KHIII is despite how much I wanna see them again, I was happy to have let Roxas/Namine's arcs be. 

    • 1
Photo
Jean Valjean
Mar 09 2019 11:54 PM

:kaukau: I didn't necessarily think that I wanted more time with the people in Rogue One, to be honest, so I didn't necessarily find that I had a feeling of loss.  I know a lot of people liked the movie.  I'm not sure how I feel about it, other than that it was...good.  As in, I can see why people like it and I see why it's good.  For me, personally, there was something missing.  I didn't even realize it until now, when I thought about the movie and realized that after two and a half years, it didn't leave much of an impression on me.  I thought that maybe it did, because I watched it twice, and I really liked the concept, but I guess that was about it.  I liked the concept and the story, but at the end of the day, you typically do need characters to get attached to, so I'm probably going to see that Obi-Wan movie when it comes out.  Or if they ever make a movie about Mace Windu or Yoda or one of the other Jedi.  Jedi are pretty awesome.  I know that ex-Jedi Darth Vader was in Rogue One, although I also feel weird about that as well.  I think that they had the right amount of Tarkin, and it felt right to have Leia, and I think that Vader would have been good if they limited him to just the Mustafar scene as a tease, but they went beyond a tease and gave him a full, epic scene.  I dunno.  That's just something that felt off to me in an otherwise good film.  Perhaps if he wasn't in the climax, then my last impression as the film ended would have been of the main characters, and they would have stuck with me longer.  I don't mean to nit-pick.  As I've said, it's a good movie.

 

As for the video games, I'm so sorry, but I have no comment.  I'm not a gamer in the slightest.  The last game I played was the minimalist game diep.io, and I gave that up for my New Years resolution.  Although I played Soul Reaver once upon a time.  How much of a fossil does that make me?

 

24601

    • 0
Photo
Jedi Master J.
Mar 10 2019 02:22 AM

@TMD (Rogue One): I don't know if I agree with you about Rogue One. Like a big problem (Beside some of cameos like Cornelius Evazan and Ponda Baba) I had with the film is it hard to feel emotionally invested in these characters due to how short of time we get to experience them (Honestly it is problem that I have with films a lot, which is why I technically enjoy TV shows more than films as TV shows just have so much more time to use their characters).

 

The only characters at the end that I felt a true loss for was K-2SO (Which I love that droid), Chirrut Imwe, and Baze Malbus (Which was mostly due their great relationship and mystic of their order).

 

Again, maybe just me, but I felt like there was a lot of waste story potential for these characters. I mean Cassian Andor, for example, came from a Separatist world, which is something that we hadn't really seen with a Rebel character before. The film doesn't have much room to explore that though and mostly focused on moral grey area of his job as a spy for Rebel Alliance, which is a fair thing to explore in the film. But as result, I don't think it did amazing job of selling his loss to me as I just barely knew him as a person, outside of some his morally questionable actions for greater good. 

 

It sort like if I met a random person on street one day and hung out a little, then learn like a week later that they had died. I mean sure, I would feel sad about that news, but it is not degree that I would be thinking about them for more than a day at most.

 

So yeah, I would prefer there had been a film series that would explore and develop this team further as they went on missions for Rebel Alliance with the big Death Star plan mission being their swan song film. Ultimately that didn't happen though, so I can only hope whatever we get from Cassian Andor's prequel show, that is planned for Disney streaming service, will further explore some of those characters (Obviously not expecting them all to be explore in that show since most weren't involved with Rebel Alliance till Rogue One.).

 

@TMD & Pahrak (Roxas stuff): Honestly, I am not going argue with you guys on that. I mean clearly much like Ansem thing from KH I to KH II, it was something they decided to change later (Obviously in this case due to popularity of Roxas as a character).

 

That's just nature of how they decided to write story in this series though (Really Writing by the Seat of Your Pants trope is hardly a new thing for writers in general. For example, a lot of TV shows such as Breaking Bad have been written in this fashion, so sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't.) and I am certainly not saying that was the best way of doing things, but it is what is (and I personally at least enjoy the puzzle element of it). XD

 

At the end of day though, I am glad they delivered on what they spent several games setting up. It definitely would annoyed me if they decided to backpedal on giving a happier end to these characters after all that setup. You both don't have agree with me on that, of course.

 

- JMJ 2019

    • 0

Profile

Posted Image


josh


grew up on a ship


lives in new york


frequently found writing in a coffee shop, behind a camera, or mixing alcohol and video games

June 2019

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
161718 19 202122
23242526272829
30      

The Designated Tekulo Crying Corner

Just for you and your crummy feelings.

Disclaimer

Josh works for LEGO at the LEGO Store at Rockefeller Center. Despite this, any and every opinion expressed herewith is entirely his own and decidedly not that of The LEGO Group.

In addendum, any and all opinions expressed by The LEGO Group are entirely theirs and decidedly not that of Josh

Obviously.

Recent Comments

Search My Blog