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Being a Coward on Purpose


Probably not. Players need some aspect of heroism in their hero. Arguably, some games like this do exist to an extent. Most JRPGS, Final Fantasy being a huge example, toss random encounters your way and give you the option of abandoning them completely. But thatís not to say it doesnít have its fair share of mandatory boss fights. Pokemon lets you sometimes run from random creatures that pop out of high grass, but this is only for convenience. In case youíre not looking for that one creature in particular. No one needs seventeen Rattatas. But players arenít abandoning these fights out of fear. Very few people are trembling at the sight of a random Bidoof.

As it stands now, we need visual cues to tell us to run. We have to rely on objectives spelled out before us that say loudly that escape is part of the narrative. Things like collapsing buildings and timers ticking down on bombs drive us to make our hasty getaway. As it stands, all problems are solvable problems to gamers. Nothing should be run from and no fight should be abandoned. Does this make us simply clever folk intent on finding a solution to every problem or trapped in a world thatís too linear to let us do anything else?

Itís probably a little of both. But, retreating from fights isnít an aversion to puzzles. Itís not the antithesis of problem solving. Instead itís a scenario where the player relinquishes the title of strongest character in the game, just for a moment, without having to perish and respawn over and over until a controller shatters against a wall. If you want, itís the quickest method to scaring the ever-living shit out of your player too. To steal control from them for a moment and send them into a spiraling panic. If game designers want their players to be mortal, to be vulnerable and afraid, then thereís nothing wrong with making them turn tail and run like a sissy.
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About AwesomeExMachinaone of us since 6:13 PM on 07.28.2009

Twenty four years ago I was adorable. Now I'm inquisitive and hilarious.

I have a plastic tooth to replace one lost in a mosh pit during my more ridiculous high school years. I speak shitty German and I ride a bike. My Xbox gets so much use, I'm sometimes embarassed. But I'm unemployed, so my time is spent writing blogs on the internet, reading good literary fiction, and playing video games.

In the grand scale of things, I'm a late-bloomer. My parents banned all consoles from my house as a kid. See what you've done? Now I game constantly to make up for years of lost time.

I won't list my favorites, because you've probably seen ten lists like it before me.

There's a life-sized Boba Fett standee in my living room.

No Clip Series:
Grand Theft Auto IV
Fallout New Vegas
Red Dead Redemption

The Slapstick Cephalopod: An Interview with the Octodad Team
Chicago Night Fights: Marvel vs Capcom 3
Inventing the Paint: An Interview with Author Tom Bissell
Top 10 Greatest Tiny Video Game Characters

Front-Paged Monthly Musings:
Groundhog Day: The Liberty to Pursue
Teh Bias: Critical Errors at Surface Level
Alternate Reality:Time for a new job
Something About E3: Imaginings from 20 Years Ago
The Great Escape: Tiny plastic guitars and wiimotes
My Expertise: Latent Racial Bonus
The Future: Overdoing the Over-the-Top
Love/Hate: A Gentleman's Baffling Love for Collecting Furniture
Nothing is Sacred: Games Taking Themselves Too Seriously

Worth reading:
We Are Destructoid
Writing on the Wall: How Graffiti Builds Universes
Combating Lawlessness in the Wild West of Red Dead Redemption
Being a Coward on Purpose
What Bringing About the Fictional Zombie Apocalypse Taught Me About Game Design
Why Video Game Designers Need to Watch the Road Warrior
The Needless Shit We Gamers Do

Xbox LIVE:The Disco Pony
PSN ID:The Disco Pony


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