At lunch we were babbling about games over BBQ, a common practice for Arkane’s Austin studio. The subject today was emotional moments in 2007. All part of the ongoing, endless drive to knock it out of the park with a great game no matter how many times you have to get up to bat.
I rattled off my emo moments without hesitation, which means it was a great year:
1) The first time I saved a Little Sister in Bioshock. The perfect swell of music, the little form struggling in your hands, the voice…all perfect. Much more powerful that first time.
2) The moment the puzzle game became a story game in Portal, via empathy for whoever had come before me… Never has so much been said with so few “words.”
3) One of the rainstorm gun battles in STALKER, with an enemy in the dark breathing hard on the opposite side of a pillar. I felt hunted. Honestly, it was like playing an intense game of Capture the Flag in the woods at night at age 13…exhilarating, scary and empowering.
4) The staggering death, post nuke, in Call of Duty 4. “Omg, someone finally did it.”
5) The pistol slide sacrifice at the end of Call of Duty 4. Captain Price is counting on the FNG in a way that is still emotionally evocative. Amazing use of drama.
I think 2007 reinvigorated my faith in games, which had (perhaps understandably) flagged. And all but one of those moments came via console.
I can wait for the followup to these games (in addition to Fallout 3, Far Cry 2 and Mercenaries 2)…omfg, so much goodness.