#6. Survival Horror Should Be Scary
Didn't Get It: Resident EvilResident Evil was as scary as the number at the bottom of a tax bill: you knew exactly what was coming and where it would be when you started if you'd bothered paying attention to one of these before. Capcom's Japanese department mistranslated "survival horror" as "point your gun at every window you see." A dying police officer spent the second game telling me to save myself, and I did so by pointing my shotgun at him at all times. When he inevitably leaped at me it was more disappointment after a longer buildup than my first kiss, with the same amount of failed biting. They used "jumping out and shouting BOO!" as the plot for three games, and anyone who could actually be scared by one couldn't work enough hands to pick up the controller.
Every window installed by Umbrella corporation comes with a free monster.
Got it: Silent Hill
The first Silent Hill on the other hand was scarier than waking up next to the girl from The Ring wearing a broken condom. It could scare the shit out of you when nothing was happening after a week without fiber. Little things like music, fog, the flies buzzing round the blood-soaked blanket draped over a broken wheelchair in the corner.
Anyone who didn't piss themselves at this point is lying or dehydrated.
The core difference was effort. When Silent Hill wanted you to run around the level it kidnapped your daughter and posted bloody riddles which left you staring at a broken piano for a full minute, and enraptured by every second. Resident Evil says, "You need a [BLUE]emblem" and waits for you to piss off and find it. They connected a random number generator to a dictionary instead of hiring a designer. They didn't even say "you need a crowbar, maybe check the garage" because that level of object recognition gets tiring when you install 50 fetch quests instead of a plot. Protip: Working as a delivery boy has many negative aspects, but "soul-chilling terror" is not one of them.
#5. Story Serves Gameplay
Didn't Get It: Metal Gear Solid seriesMetal Gear Solid was the K-T extinction asteroid of 3D gaming. Before it struck, warm-blooded gamers suffered under clumsy, lumbering games which were as three dimensional as the pyramids: they had depth but moved at the speed of continental drift and were visibly blocky from four miles away. Metal Gear kicked the entire industry in the ass, and to this day Psycho Mantis is the only individual who could convince many gamers to put the controller down for a second.
Luckily gasmasks and rubberwear are already an established fetish.
Unfortunately Hideo Kojima thought this was because he included a personalized War and Peace for every character, rather than just having good characters and letting you kill them. The rest of the series is summed up by the "submit to torture" ending of the first game: Solid Snake saves the nerd who talks too much instead of his true love. Metal Gear Solid 2 was the world's first tactical nagging simulator. The main character Raiden was such a painful pussy the FOXHOUND special forces were rezoned as a maternity ward for the game. The fourth game elevated video game meta-conflict by trying to defeat the player with relentlessly extended cut-scenes instead of bullets.
Got It: Half-Life series
Gordon Freeman is the smartest first person shooter ever, and proves it by kicking ass and shutting up. His refusal to speak even once demonstrates more respect for his user than the Emperor's Geishii.
They had inhumanly photoshopped fetishes way before computers.
Dr Freeman understands both particle physics and that if you wanted to listen to assholes you wouldn't be running around throwing toilets at people.
This is basically internet commenting.
This is a man who ripped a hole in reality rather than stop for one second to ask, "Should we be doing this incredibly dangerous experiment with me at ground zero?" He figured that slowing the game down by 13 words was a worse fate than ending the world, and for that he's the greatest action hero of all time.
#4. Combos Require Skill
Didn't Get It: Killer Instinct
Action movies claim that one man can beat up the world, and video games claim that person is you. Disbelief isn't so much suspended as given a jetpack. The idea that one hero can triumph over waves of idiots if he's skilled enough is the exact fantasy of thousands of IT workers, and why they want to beat people up for fun. The ultimate example in fighting games is the combo: a sequence of perfectly timed moves pounding your opponent into an insensible heap, where (unlike the real world) you're just so good he doesn't have a chance, a gun or five friends behind you with tire irons.
Killer Instinct served our need for combos the same way late night cable served other urges: unsatisfyingly and only after sitting through hours of bullshit. Killer Instinct's big appeal was "amazing combos," where a single special move would make your character hit the other player 16 times. Which you might recognize as "a single move" and "not a combo." It was combo masturbation -- you couldn't get the real thing so you watched it on the screen and pretended. Worse, the incredibly extended animations destroyed any actual fighting-game flow and turned defense into a horrible quicktime event 10 years too early -- if you missed the microsecond window between their multi-hit special moves, you were flailing around for another minute. Playing Killer Instinct was like arguing with a taser.
In reality kicking one man in a bath house only begins your problems.
Her combo is about as believable as her anatomy.
Got It: Street Fighter III: 3rd StrikeStreet Fighter III was the most self-aware fighter of all time. It elevated everything about Street Fighting to Ph.D. level and even admitted that Capcom photocopies its games. The first version had a subtitle, so Street Fighter III: New Generation might as well have been called SFIII: You Bet Your Ass We're Making More. 2nd Impact tuned it, and 3rd Strike performed the even more vital task of fixing the broken tuning.
3rd Strike remains one of the most perfect fighting games of all time. Most of the game is still built around incredible (and real combos), and even the the most devastating special-move Ultra Combos can be parried if you've spent years of your life inhumanly training to counter exactly that move. Which is the exact plot of half of all kung fu movies.
If you don't play fighting games, this clip kicks more ass than destroying the Death Star. Except the one responsible actually knew what the hell he was doing.