Tuesday, May 6, 2008
It's interesting watching other people play sandbox games, just seeing what people do when they aren't tightly constrained by the rules. The one thing people do that I didn't really think about until I saw someone do it is completely ignore the freedom given to them, and just slam through the storyline. A friends' roommate was playing GTA IV like that - not even pretending to do the side missions, just blasting though the storyline. He did use the phone/friend missions, grudgingly, once the audience started complaining about his play style - driving extremely carefully, braking for corners, trying not to scratch up his stolen cars. Not a painfully strict adherence to the rules of the road, just enough to slow the game down and make it painfully slow to watch, at least for me. I didn't actually get a chance to play it, he was pretty serious about no one else playing, so I can't really saw anything about it other than what I saw. Something I did see that got some laughs from the small crowd watching him play was just one scene - the car wash. Just the amount of detail they put into the simple act of washing a car - it was more explicit than the murders, or the "sex" where Niko disappears and you hear a few moans - this showed you every tiny detail - Niko pays for it, makes his selection, and the player is treated to a completely non-interactive cut scene where, well, you sit through a car wash. The safety bar comes up, the car drives in, suds and brushes, and then the exit bar comes up, and the car is clean. This had one of the guys watching nearly in tears from laughing, and it did seem kind of ridiculous, after we'd just murdered someone and stolen their car with no fanfare. I don't know if Rockstar was aiming for irony or not, but if they are, it's art, pure art.