All the Small Things
Gaming is full of big things. Big triple a games, big collectors editions, big bosses. We are asked to indulge on excess and extremes. But sometimes it’s the smaller things that make us laugh, make us cry or bring us that little bit closer to our characters.
Little things tend to go unnoticed in games as our sense are drawn to fighting or unravelling a mystery. Recently however, I’ve started picking up on a few things that, though tiny in the scheme of things, have made me enjoy my gaming sessions all the more.
I’ve written recently about my opinions and disappointments with Fallout 4. I do enjoy some aspects but I’m largely let down by it. However, despite my reservations about power armour and how easy it is to access, I recently noticed a small fairly innocuous sound effect when using it.
When you sprint in power armour, ypu certainly can feel the weight of the armour on you. It feels heavy to run in and makes huge clanking footsteps as you do. But as you start to sprint, when you initially hit the sprint button, listen.
Hydraulics. A hiss of air as the armour forces its legs to get going.
With that small noise my fallout world brought me a hint of joy and surprise. The power armour felt less like a protective shell and more like a machine made to support troops. It feels more alive.
Away from the apocalypse, I recently installed The Sims 3 on my PC. I’ve grown up playing The Sims and come back to it when no other game works to relive me of frustrations or stresses. Having long ignored the third iteration of the series, Steam provided me a cheap chance to investigate. Once again I returned to the Sims and found the Goths and the Landgrabbs were my distant neighbours. What I wasn’t expecting was a nostalgia hit from the TV.
It was playing music from the original Sims and the expansions. More specifically it was a track from the loading screens of Unleashed,the first pet based expansion. I zoomed right into the TV to check I wasn’t mishearing. Nope that’s definitely that song. It was a very small thing in the vastness that is the Sims but it hit me in the nostalgia centre of my brain.
My third recent, tiny discovery is in the initially huge Final Fantasy XV. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the game but already have found little things I love. Of these is Prompto. He’s a particularly excitable character, the youngest of the boy band and he, like me, hums and sings to himself. On your travels outside the car you’re likely to hear him asking to go see the chocobos, or singing the chocobo theme to himself. But my favourite mannerism of his comes when the group wins a fight.
On occasion he will sing the well known and loved Victory Fanfare. Not the whole thing but a small rendition. It’s adorable and nostalgic and makes me smile. In fact, it’s nice that the characters themselves acknowledge they’ve won. The game has no real victory music for standard fights, just blips and bloops for the various on screen information boxes. It’s a small musical nod to the past in a game that is trying to make Final Fantasy more accessible and appeal to a wider audience.
Click here to hear Prompto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGTIeL_02g8
A final, but not audible thing I am fond of in games comes from Rare’s Viva Pinata on Xbox 360. If you don’t know it, go find it (it’s super cheap nowadays and is also part of Rare Replay). You are a gardener, charged with creating and caring for a garden in order to attract Pinatas. Pinatas are adorable. The best part of those Pinatas is their ‘fur’. Their fur is made of up paper fluttering in the breeze, each piece having been wonderfully animated and coloured. Watching your Bunnycomb bounce around the garden is cute. Watching the Bunnycomb fur also bounce around the garden in a completely natural looking way is stunning.
Of course, a million other things in a million other games bring small amounts of joy to my gaming life. I can’t possibly list them all here, and I am bound to keep finding more. I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my gaming life. What are the little things in games that bring you happiness? I’d love to hear yours!
Until next time