Some spoilers for the beginning of Uncharted 4
Well. That was some exposition, wasn’t it?
I’m up to the bit where Sam is about to break out of prison.
I gotta digest. But that was a HELL of a way to exposit, fill in the plot of old games, have a meta video game session with Naughty Dog’s first game (Seriously, that’s a ND game), show his longing (Nerf guns? Really? REALLY?) AND show Elena’s (she WANTS him and HER back in, in a callback to other games).
DAMN these guys are good.
Sorry Amy Henning. They’re better writers.
Ha! I did not know Crash Bandicoot was a Naughty Dog game. Makes sense, I guess: why not throw your own old game into your new game? That’s kind of awesome.
It made me wonder about the time frame for a bit–was that game supposed to be current technology?–but they have modern-looking cell phones, so I think Elena must just be into vintage games. And it’s kind of funny that they occasionally revert to the forward-view, pull-the-stick-toward-you move, as we’ve discussed before. It feels so odd and disconcerting in the context of the rest of UC, but it’s their own roots, in a way.
So the awareness meter showed up with the nun? (Apparently, I put maximum points into nun-avoidance, since I don’t remember this. I was a soundless wisp of smoke to her! Much like the smoke from her cigarettes, before I crept out the window she opened.) OK, that eliminates even the vague story-based explanation that it was a skill he’s learned with long adventuring practice. Oh well. We’ll just have to go with “this is a new mechanic they introduced in this game.” Boring, but extremely plausible.
It was a good summary of where they are right now, all right.
Sometimes it’s just gameplay. T SHIRT!
A brilliant summary. And one that put you in Drake’s shoes so well. You got his own emotional state, and you did it with line blurring.
I mean, look at the progression. You get the facts from all the artifacts you pick up. Then you play nerf guns. When does nerf guns stop? When you, the player GET TIRED OF IT. When you, the player, are ready to go down to dinner (which you know you’re going to do because you hear Elena before you start the nerf gun bit). But then, when you’re down there, when things have been quiet, when you’ve poked your head into bathrooms with nothing in them, the game has you, and Drake, looking at that picture. And you BOTH know there’s more.
And then what does the game do? It puts a fucking GAME CONTROLLER in DRAKE’S hand! Sure, you’ve played nerf guns, you’ve gotten tired of it. You SHOULD be eating dinner, right? But the game says “C’mon….pick up the controller again….” and soon YOU’RE smiling, and YOU’RE thinking “ok…maybe just a little while longer…..” not because Drake picked up a gun, but because Drake picked up a controller. YOU want more. YOU want back in. YOU realize you’re not tired of it just yet. YOU keep playing. And, maybe not consciously, but in the back of your mind, you know exactly what’s going on in Drake’s head.
That’s just fucking brilliant.
I mean, the great artists use their craft to make points and make us feel in ways we don’t sometimes notice. Anyone can throw around a big metaphor. We learn that shit in high school. But only the greats can use their art so subtly.
I don’t like saying, in any medium, that one thing is the best ever. Too hard to compare. But I will say that, at least right now, based on their work, that Naughty Dog is the best in the business at using games in ways that only games can work. We’ve talked about how games can do things that no other medium can do, and ND is SO far ahead of the curve on that that they’re leaving the rest of everyone else behind.
I love your breakdown of the exposition, particularly when Drake starts playing the video game–it’s fascinating because that was not entirely my experience. Rather than being drawn in and thinking “I’ll play just a little more,” I couldn’t WAIT to get out of the Crash Bandicoot screen.
It was kind of like “this is not the game I want to be playing, so I need to get back to the game I do want to be playing ASAP.” I didn’t hate that the old game was there, I thought it was kind of a fun touch, and I was willing to give it the three shots it required, but once that was done I was out. (Largely, no doubt, because I was terrible at it.) I was in no way inspired to keep ‘playing’–though I was, of course, deeply interested in playing.
So you’re all noticing that cool line blurring and I was more noticing:
1) the slightly amusing irony of Drake, who points out that he does a lot of running and jumping, being terrible at a game of running and jumping;
2) the other line blurring of me the player being terrible at one game of running and jumping, but OK at another one, and wanting very much to get out of the ‘game’ game and into the ‘real’ game.
“Enough of this pretending to run and jump! Let me at some REAL pretending to run and jump!”
Which says, perhaps, that it’s all about graphics and story, and does really point out that players of games have little call to be feelin’ all superior to one another based on which specific games they play.
Oh no, I didn’t want to play that either. More like I was ready to stop playing UC4, but that scene was so fascinating that I changed my mind and played the rest of the chapter (and then some). Maybe the moment of line blurring was more looking at the picture with him, THEN the game.
I was pulled back into the idea of going to Malaysia/jungles/wherever in that scene. As was he.
And yeah, that Elena was a trash talking video gamer was exceptionally awesome. They have fun, they do.
But no, it was a bigger picture idea of the exposition.
Ah, I see. Well, as long as I’m not the only one who’s terrible at Crash Bandicoot.
Maybe I didn’t notice that big picture stuff as much because I was not just about to quit for the night when I played this bit–I had pretty much just started. So that “pulling you in for just a little more” wasn’t quite as dramatic since I had every intention of playing more.