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Don't Go In The Women's Bathroom

I enjoy details and our gaming universes are a constant fascination because each element is individually designed and placed.  My college education is in architecture which I only mention because if I was better at computers I daydream that my role on a video game development team would be environment and level design.  Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a game built to make the watchful gamer stop and just look around at the level.

Sage advice that gamers ignore often. Does any game have your favorite commode?

My initial realization that the game had an eye towards detail was in the beginning when the gamer, as the protagonist Adam Jensen, was given free movement throughout Sarif Corporation's headquarters.  Whereas the initial introduction was an immediate thrust into subpar combat controls that left me bewildered.  With wobbly gun controls and a maze of a button layout I wanted a peaceful free roaming sequence to help me adjust to the controls.  I explored the office headquarters beginning with the location that all gamers seemingly begin at in new game levels, the bathroom.  After opening stall doors, peering into toilet bowls for loot, and turning the sinks on (behavior I try not to replicate in real life) I exited the bathroom.  Immediately, I was accosted in my ear piece by Frank Pritchard, Sarif's head of cyber-security, for not only delaying my ordered meeting with David Sarif (I was) but for flouting social norms by entering the women's bathroom as a man (I did).  The interaction made me chuckle out loud and I began looking for those details in other aspects of the game. 

A valid criticism of Deus Ex: HR is the time spent scouring office buildings and traversing crawl space vents, neither environment is inherently very interesting.  About midway through the game after a new level was revealed I inwardly groaned at another office building requiring scouring floor by floor.  Quickly, Adam becomes aware that the office was hastily abandoned and as he explored I was distracted by the new office designs but primarily by the spilled coffee. 

A typical conference room but the chairs are a mess and the coffee is spilled.  This office needs more fire drills to practice a well mannered exit. 

Now, I work in an office but I do not remember clumsily knocking over my coffee in the case of a fire alarm, beginning of the weekend or other real world reason for fleeing the office.  In this virtual office chairs were askew, papers littered about but only when I noticed an overturned cup with liquid pooling did I realize that the chaos was intentional.    

Coffee everywhere! 

Further inspection showed that not only was the coffee spilled but also dripping onto the floor.  Now, not to nitpick about coffee physics but if the coffee spilled, dribbled down the side of the desk and pooled onto the floor then the coffee on the floor would not have impact splatters as if the coffee hit the floor with force.  Maybe I watch too many crime procedurals on television.  Also, this image teaches that this office employee drinks their coffee black (yuck).

Coffee spilled the middle of the table but not a paper touched.  If only real coffee spills acted so perfectly. 

Luckily despite numerous coffee spills across the office no coffee hit the various scattered papers or office equipment.  I am unsure how a coffee cup in the middle of the table spilled, maybe an employee has incredibly long arms that flailed widely in the emergency, but the two other coffee cups remain securely upright.

This office drinks a lot of coffee and can't keep the coffee in the cup, these employees need to learn to manage their anxiety. 

Yet another unique coffee spill image!  I am more than wondering if the development team at Eidos Montreal spilled a lot of their own coffee as design inspiration and became a bit obsessed with rendering coffee spills.

Fire?!  Or is that tentacles?  Maybe alien arms?  Or snakes?  

Moving on from coffee spills, signs often strive to communicate to all via easily understandable pictures.  Lit cigarette with a line struck through?  No smoking, got it.  What about a box that can hold approximately three people side by side and go up and down?  I can infer that an elevator is nearby.  How about flames threatening to roast a person in mid jump out of a window?  Hmm, maybe sideways moving fire chasing a skier?  Without or without a sign, I understand the basic premise of, "In case of a fire, go in the opposite direction."  Exactly where this sign is leading me remains suspect.

Maybe we can use these paper towels to clean up all of that spilled coffee. 

Video game characters may not yet realistically eat and drink with their claw hands but food is commonly rendered to help us pretend.  The HR: Deus Ex universe includes the well-known cereal, multitudes of empty pizza boxes, triangle sandwiches and even soft pretzels.  In fact, cyborg-esque individuals recharge their batteries with energy bars in a bit of unexplained science.  However, the loaves of bread made me stop and stare.  Rendered bread is complete with twisty ties and shiny plastic wrapping.  Here we have a coffee pot, ketchup and mustard, bread loaves, and paper towels.  Exactly what I picture when I imagine an underground gang hideout deep in the sewers.

Tires doubling as a box spring!  What will those clever rascals living in the sewers think of next?

While we are underground, the local unsavory population may resort to living with the sewage and rats but are certainly a resourceful lot who enjoy ketchup and mustard sandwiches on white bread.  You ever sleep on only a mattress wishing you had a box spring to provide support?  We now have an answer to that dilemma, tires.  Yep, throw a couple of tires under a mattress and the result is so comfortable that a sheet is not even needed.  Too bad the guard that I just choked out missed the bed when he fell.

I want to know what video game designer created this piece and what was the inspiration for the sacrificial teddy bear. 

Video game design takes time.  But someone had enough time to stop, conceptualize an art piece, and draw the piece into the game environment.  A child holding on but dropping their teddy bear headfirst into the gaping jaws of a fearsome creature.  Why not?  I kept searching for an explanation of this piece elsewhere in the area but nope, this is simply one game designer gone rogue.

Soda can tower building is surely not in this employee's list of duties but the tower is being built anyway.  Way to take initiative. 

Another obsession in this game is soda cans.  Vending machines must constantly be moved away from vents but let us not discuss why a heavy machine would be placed so as to directly block an air flow vent.  Generic soda cans literally littered the environment but now and again appeared in more interesting configurations.  This office employee is highly caffeinated.  This halfway completed can tower contains 10 cans, almost an entire 12-pack, maybe the employee is in the bathroom.  Maybe this desk is modeled off of the game designer's.

Using deteriorating work conditions cleverly, good use of the silver lining.   

However, coffee remains the caffeine of choice in this video game world especially for container dock guards protecting nefarious organizations hiding top secret weaponry that anyone can break in and loot.  Need rockets and a rocket launcher?  Just steal the container's code off of a guard.  No pressure.  In this high stress work environment bricks in the break room are falling out leaving a perfect holding place for coffee cups to best ensure that when the klaxon alarms are triggered the employees do not spill their precious coffee willy nilly.  Smart move.            

Orange cones guarding those cardboard boxes and paint pails with garbage bags supervising the endeavor.  

For all of the small details that reward those peering into the game universe's nooks and crevices sometimes the video game designer simply needs to press the copy and paste buttons.  At my count we have 4 orange cones zealously guarding 4 cardboard boxes and 3 paint buckets along with 4 wooden pallets stacked in the background heaped with 5 garbage bags full of trash.  The video game designer may have not thought that us gamers would notice a bizarre amount of miscellaneous items in the background but we notice and we also understand the over caffeinated workday that led to this environmental overkill.   

The future or wishful thinking?  Final Fantasy 27 in year 2027, you are funny Square Enix. 

The well-known Deus Ex: HR Easter egg, an advertisement for Final Fantasy XXVII.  Final Fantasy XV (15) was announced merely weeks ago but maybe Final Fantasy XXVII (27) is in pre-production.   Deus Ex: HR is set in 2027.  Square Enix has 14 years to complete Final Fantasy XXVII to complete the game by 2027.  After Final Fantasy XV is actually released only 12 games to make and release in order to catch up to Final Fantasy XXVII.  You can do it Square Enix!  Focus!  While we are cheering on Square Enix let us throw out the idea to make the character featured above with clothing at least a smidge less skin tight and nix the flower headband.   

Sometimes a small detail is indicative of a larger joke or reference and sometimes the small detail is just that, a small out of the way "most gamers will not see this" moment.  Again, my appreciation to the game developers who regardless of company finances and office politics just want to design games (that include an impossibly hard basketball shot achievement) that makes us gamers smile.  Game universes are so large and expansive nowadays with promises of growing even bigger and better in the next generation that I want to take a moment to recognize all of the work required to populate these growing worlds. 

To the developers of Deus Ex: HR, your work is appreciated and noticed.  I stopped, stared, wondered, and chuckled throughout the game and you continued to surprise me.

Whew, I called this writing quits multiple times this weekend due to a harried schedule that kept me from writing throughout this whole week.  To all those reading, I thank you for your time giving me the motivation to keep trying because the day is not over until the clock hits midnight.  Also, certainly these photos are smartphone images hastily edited.  I wish that the images were of better quality but even in their current amateur state the images serve well enough for my purposes.  

What is your favorite or most bizarre video game detail?

What is your favorite video game food (The Deus Ex: HR soft pretzels really surprised me)?

Why is video game loot found in toilet bowls when we would never snatch up a wayward energy bar sitting in a toilet bowl in real life (or would you)?

 

 

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