When Video Games Defy ‘Gamer Logic’

When Video Games Defy ‘Gamer Logic’

Lots of video games strive to look like the real world, but they still follow their own distinct rules. Every person and thing has been designed specifically for you, the player. So it can be pretty jarring — and cool — when a game throws that out the window.

Generally speaking, if a video-game character asks you to do something “and hurry about it,” you actually have all the time in the world. Take a day; heck, take two! Things will carry on when you’re done. Similarly, when a platform starts to crumble from under your character’s feet, it’s fine. Don’t worry! It’s only doing that because he touched it. You’ll always have enough time to jump to the next platform before you fall.

After decades of playing video games, we’re conditioned to expect this sort of stuff, which makes it all the more remarkable when a game defies those expectations. I liked this short video by Ryan Kinsman (via r/games) that explores a couple examples of when video games surprised him by applying logic closer to that of the real world.

I moved fast enough in Human Revolution to avoid getting the hostages killed, but I would have been pret-ty salty if I hadn’t. It wasn’t exactly “fair play,” but it was definitely memorable.


  • I didn’t know about the hostages until my second play through of the director’s cut. I’d always played it slow.

    • Yeah, I actually had no idea there were hostages or that it was possible to save them. I haven’t gotten around to a second playthrough of DXHR but I’ll definitely be paying more attention this time.

    • Um… no, no you really couldn’t. I mean sure, there are some subtleties to the affection system that aren’t immediately obvious (if Tifa is taken as Don Corneo’s companion and you tell Aeris “We have to help Tifa!” you lose affection with her because she’s jealous, while if Aeris is taken and you tell Tifa “We have to help Aeris!” you gain affection with her because she appreciates your compassion, indicating their differing personalities and how different rules apply to them) but in other respects it’s just a simple affection system- the girl who likes you most is the one you go on a date with at Golden Saucer (or Barret if you’re weird).

      • After further thought, yeah I think I agree with you. Although it’s similar in subtlety to the Deus Ex example, it doesn’t really have the same type of payoff. Instead you might not even realise that the dating subplot had alternative endings.

  • So a video that talks about something that’s been well established in gaming for pretty much as long as I’ve played games?

    At the start of a game you figure out if events work on a trigger or a timer. That determines how you need to play if you want to succeed, simple.

  • Life is Strange was pretty good about this too. Whilst yes it did usually (but not always) uphold the status quo it often gave you enough time to live with your good or bad decisions and let you play out certain scenarios that most games would have thrown up in their mouth a little at the mere thought of. Just finished the last episode and
    vague spoilers for the last episode
    your last decision is between a bad choice and a bad choice and is really subversive about how you perceive value of a thing regarding your attachment to it

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