Yusuke and ElGato's Co-blog: A look at gaming explanations. - Raizan Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Yusuke and ElGato's Co-blog: A look at gaming explanations.

Yusuke: Welcome to Yusuke and ElGato's co-blog, and thanks for reading. Join us as we discuss the wonders of video gaming's wackiest explanations, or lack of.

So, Gato, we know gaming isn't all about realism (despite what some games are trying to do today), but it's pretty fun to think about how they rationalize things, isn't it?

ElGato: Yep, just like movies a lot of the games have decided that they need real explanations for things like space travel and zombies. There was a time when time traveling was a matter of having something glow in the back of your car, now you need a half an hour explanation about wormholes just so you can go punch a dinosaur. I specially love how in Crysis they feel like they need to explain how your suit can harden and become invisible so they give you the "nanoscience" explanation. How exactly does nanoscience make you invisible? Do you have nanocameras and nanoscreens on your nanosuit wich show what's on the other nanoside? Does it make more sense if we put nano before every word?

Yusuke:I have nano idea what any of those things are (badum tss). While we're talking about Crysis, is it me, or does sci-fi in general seem really into explaining everything that's going on? I mean, I understand why I'm shooting this alien, but I don't understand why I'm being given a lecture on it's species backstory. I understand that this Mass Relay let's me travel the galaxy at super-duper high speeds, but I don't need to know it's history. Luckily, most games are good about filing those things under a codex section.

ElGato: Oh dear god, codexes. I'm one of those guys who has to read every piece of paper that lands on it's lap so if there is a codex, I read it whole. Hell, I even read the description on every planet, on ME3! You don't even need to go to those planets to complete every side mission of the game. Still, it was a waste of my time, every explanation on that game: Mass effect, how are weapons fired? Mass effect. How do biotics work? Mass effect. How do you space travel? ¡Efecto de masa!

Ok, I know that not EVERYTHING in that game works that way and that it is suposed to be the most important discovery ever but still... Anyways, speaking of games with codexes let's talk now about another series with a huge one: Assassins creed (well, only since the second instalment). Become a cool assassin? Check. Visit awesome cities on their most representative eras? Check. Crazy conspiracy spanning centuries? Check. Whinny bartender from modern New York? Wait what!?

Yep, it seems like now you can't just play these awesome games without having an explanation so the guys from Ubisoft decided to introduce the Animus: Scientific explanation at it's finest.

 Yusuke: I never had a big problem with Assassin's Creed's explanations. Except how they used Leonardo Da Vinci's character. Seems like they really don't expand on him, and are happy to leave him as your talking work bench.

'Hey, Ezio where'd you get that gun, that is totally impractical for the era you're living in?'

'Well, I had my friend Leonardo build it for me based off the design that was created four hundred or so years ago by my predecessor, that was built off the visions he got from a magic apple.'

Something I'd like to bring up is Phoenix Down's, specifically from Final Fantasy. Now these things are never really explained in the series, a few sentences at the most, but the jist of it is , it's a magical feather that has the ability to revive the dead, according the FF12 description. Now the funny thing is, if you want to technical, characters in Final Fantasy don't die in battle. The status ailment they are afflicted with is known as "KO". Seems mighty irresponsible to be using something like that on somebody who's out cold. While we're at it, how do people harvest these things? Phoenix's rarely appear in Final Fantasy outside of summons, and when they do, what kind of stupid shop keeper would get close enough to stock their store?

ElGato: You got me at a disadvantage there since I've only played IV and XIII but I know what you mean. Why the hell would you sell a Phoenix feather for only 100 gil?! And if it brings people back from the dead, why wouldn't that stupid bard use it to revive his dead girlfriend? But no, he had to go all emo and cry to the moon. Seriously, I don't wanna get too spoilery here but, how many people died in IV alone? And I'm sure that a lot more died throughout the series, right? Sure, at least they don't start ranting with an hour and a half long explanation of how they capture the phoenixes and keep them in cages to harvest their tail feathers as if they where chickens and why doing it this way causes the item to have a lesser quality wich would explain why it never works when people actually die. ... Hmm.

Yusuke: Questions that will probably never be answered. Let's move on to a subject you might be more familiar with; inventory systems in any game. Where do they keep all that stuff? Today I was just playing Minecraft, and in my inventory, I have a stack of cobblestone, several diamonds tools, fifty loafs of bread, seven wheat stalks, a saddle, two buckets, and a door. I would love to see somebody try and carry all that on them at once, 'cause I'm pretty sure that it's impossible. And for the sake of this blog, I opened up my Fallout New Vegas save and looked in my inventory. I've got about two hundred pounds of gear on me, including, but not nearly everything, medicine, a flaming sword, a switchblade, a stealth suit, and a nuke launcher complete with the odd one or two launchable nukes.

ElGato: I love the tought of opening a sack and pulling out a door, it reminds me of my childhood days.

At least those games don't get super complicated with inventory and stuff, unlike Fable III. On that game, every time you press start you get transported to a whole mannor kinda place, buttler included. Instead of doing a simple menu where you could easily switch inventory you need to wait for the place to load, then get to the inventory room, wait for the room to load, equip the weapon and then go back. Every time you level up, you need to go back to this mannor and enter some weird hallway to spend your points in the abilities you want! WTF! Why wouldn't you do an actual menu?! Is it not realistic enough?! Does that even matters?!

And don't let me get started on gifting in that game, I'll just say it sucks.

Yusuke: I watched the Angry Joe video about it, so I think I have an idea.  But rolling wit the inventory idea, what explanation is ever offered? Am I to assume that every video game protagonist is  weighed down with several sacks and backpacks of gear? And when some games tie it into the strength or stamina stat, that doesn't help? If I go do a couple push-ups, does that mean I can lug around a couple more pieces of armor or guns?

ElGato:Yeah, I remember how in GTA San Andreas you could go to the gym and get some muscles, It had absolutely nothing to do with how much weapons you could carry but still I liked to role-play it myself, pulling out the big guns only if my character looked strong enough to carry them on his pocket. I love the fact that GTA had into account the weight of a weapon only if you pulled it out. Throw a few rockets a the cops, then switch to your knife and start running. On a side note, there's no bigger fun than punching a cop in the face and then trying to out run them with a chubby CJ:

Yusuke: Haha. Now, I guess you could say I'm a JRPG fan. A common trope of JRPGs is that the protagonist is a young village/high school boy with little to no combat experience and funky hair. I'm sorry magical crystal/god/chicken beast, but why would you choose him as the savior of the world? Why not a hardened soldier or knight?

ElGato: Of course, JRPG plot point #5, young good-for-nothing turns out to be the chosen one. I wonder if ancient gods just like people with colorful dressing to pose for the posters when the ultimate cataclysm is stopped

Yusuke: That must be the explanation for it. I'd like to discuss a topic that is very popular right now: Zombies. You see zombies in video games a lot. Why is it always like a virus or something? That's such a trope now. T-Virus, C-Virus, G-Virus, Now-I-Know-My-ABCs-Virus. What happened to good old necromancy, or, better yet, no explanation?

ElGato: Yeah, I don't play much zombie games except for L4D but I do follow them and it's true that some out there to give out super detailed information about why there was a zombie outbreak in the first place. Take The last of us, for example: they are using this explanation of some fungus that evolved and now instead of using ants it uses humans as hosts and transforms them into zombies, yeah, it'll get you to thinking if something like this can actually happen eventualy but it's still a completely unnecesary explanation. Then of course there's RE with all of it's different viruses and stuff and even though I have not played any of the games there's something about it being developed by japanese that makes me think that it may have some kind of horribly convoluted explanation.

Anyways, I feel like we've covered enough of this subject to get our point across, anything you want to add or are we ready to propose some conclutions?

Yusuke: Hmm, I think we can conclude at this point. Would you like to send us off?

ElGato: 'kay then, to sum it up I guess we could say that some game developers have started to feel that everything needs to be explained when that couldn't be further from the truth. Sure, a sci-fi game can get away with explaining every little detail, but not every other game, it's completely fine to leave something unexplained just for gameplay reasons! Who cares if you can endure much more bullets or carry much more equipment than anyone else in the game? That's just more fun!

So there you have it fellows, that's our co-blogging. I hope you enjoyed the read because I enjoyed to write. Boy, that was harder than I expected.