The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about how I didn’t like scary
games…surprisingly, I wasn’t alone as a number of the replies indicated a
similar attitude. Today I’m going to blog about surprises. I love surprises.
And by surprises, I don’t mean things that pop up on your TV or monitor trying
to startle you. By surprises I mean things that happen in the game that leave
your mouth gaping open as the gears in your brain grind to a screeching halt
trying to figure out what just happened.
To put it in perspective, I’m not talking the Norman Bates
Psycho Shower Scene kind of surprise…I’m talking the Star Wars “Luke I am your
Father and Princess Leia is Your Sister” kind of surprise.
I’m the kind of person who watches a movie or plays a video
game or reads a book and tries to figure out the ending…or the unknown. When I
guess right, my head swells a little…and when I guess wrong…well then I tell
myself my way was better and the way it should’ve been.
But sometimes, every now and then…something will happen in
game that I totally didn’t see coming and I’m dumbfounded. Flabbergasted.
Speechless. Stunned. Shocked. Amazed.
So, let me highlight a few moments in gaming history…some
recent and some not so much…that I thought were pretty spectacular and left me
just sitting there with wondering what in world just happened. I’ll keep it to
five examples, in no certain order of impressiveness or level of shock and awe.
1. Super Mario Brothers. Back in the old days, around the time I was
playing Super Mario Bros., we didn’t have the Internet or forums to go find all
the walk thrus, Easter Eggs or hints…you either found it on your own or hoped
you knew someone who told you about it. So imagine the mouth dropping moment of
finding the first hidden warp on Level 1-2.
I remember walking past the “end of
the map” and continuing on until I found the warp. I was giddy with excitement
(heck, I was only 13) and wondered if I found something that no one else had
found yet (obviously I hadn’t). As big as surprise as that was, it paled in
comparison to the minus world. Ah, the infamous minus world.
2. Modern Warfare. We
don’t expect the stories to always have a happy ending, but when a story not
only doesn’t have a happy ending, but winds up killing off one of the main players…it can
be a bit of an emotional experience. I remember in the first Modern Warfare
when Sgt. Paul Jackson dies, I was speechless.
However, just as they
begin leaving the city, a nuclear device goes off and Jackson's helicopter
crashes. He survives the crash but dies a few moments later after seeing the
aftermath of the explosion due to injuries sustained from the crash. Sgt. Paul
Jackson was one of 30,000 personnel who lost their life under General
Shepherd's command as is revealed in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
3. Portal. I’ve blogged a couple of different times about
Portal and the profound affect it had on me when I played it. It’s such an
amazing game, I had several jaw dropping moments. But the one that really
stunned me was very much like the Mario scenario, where you feel like you’re
doing something that you shouldn’t be doing, and you’re surprised it’s actually
working. In Portal, this moment occurs near the end of the “training cycle”
when instead of just standing still and riding the platform into the flames…you
create an escape portal and a whole new “behind the scenes” world is revealed. I was stunned. I’m stunned even now just
thinking about it. Portal is one big jaw dropping experience.
4. Halo. While this particular move wasn’t necessarily a “surprise”
per say, the whole experience was pretty spectacular. The final scene, racing
the Warthog through waves of the Flood and Covenant forces while trying to
safely navigate the various turns, bends and jumps until you make that final
jump. The first time I ever played the scene, I actually successfully
accomplished it on the first attempt, but each time I played it after wards, I
invariably screwed it up. So that first run was pretty special. I sat there thinking, “Holy Crap that was amazing! That just happened!”
5. Metal Gear. This is an amazing game but unfortunately one
that I haven’t played very much of. I tend to favor Sam Fisher and Splinter
Cell for all of my “spy – secret agent” style games. But I do think the whole
series is awesome and I’m always amazed at the cardboard box…
Are you moving house or something?" -Big Boss to Solid Snake, during
Operation Intrude N313
The Cardboard Box is
one of the trademark items of the Metal Gear series. It is used to help hide
the main character from the enemy or surveillance cameras.
It never gets old. And every time I used it I’m amazed it
works at all. It’s one of the few “surprises” that’s as comical as it is effective.
So, what about you…what kind of surprises have you
encountered that left you stunned?