Finally actually listened to the episode!
esper Are lost memories a compelling story device? (35:27)
Breath of the Wild escaped a deservedly gruesome dressing down on this question. What exactly was the point of framing the whole Captured Memories sidequest1 as if you were piecemeal curing Link of selective amnesia? Everyone else who could conceivably remember what happened there is either definitely dead or MIA, and it’s not like Link was about to look at the pictures in the Sheikah Slate and start monologuing about all of the cutscenes he remembers from 100 years ago, him being a silent protagonist and all.
Just kind of feels like a quick and dirty way to more forcibly manufacture a motivation to do something the player will surely also already want to do, gamifying the act of showing these cutscenes in a way that I think isn’t all that artful. It’s kind of a CinemaSins level critique to wonder “well why doesn’t Link look at the pictures and be reminded of them all and then you can just watch all the cutscenes,” well, it’s because, like, people don’t think like that? IDK. Feels like if Breath of the Wild had trusted the player more to seek out those locations out of curiosity rather than doodadifying it, and Link could just, like, remember stuff, those scenes would have had more emotional impact. I, the player, am ignorant of the events in question, I don’t need the character to also be receiving that information like it’s new to empathize and be interested in that process, and I’m at least of the opinion that knowing Link knew the stuff all along, and instead of being spoon fed a revelation along with him, we would kind of be taught something by him, would have given his character a little more depth, maybe.
So maybe what I’m getting at is that lost memories aren’t a compelling story device when they’re just a contrived way to make a guy remember something or to show the player some flashbacks, perhaps also as a way to control the order in which they’re checked off on your quest log or whatever. I guess that’s partially the fault of it being a kind of tired trope at this point, but still, if you’re going to do it, we’re well past the point where it’s an interesting narrative wrinkle or subplot unless it’s something you really commit to and integrate into the game’s narrative or even gameplay. No one could accuse Planescape: Torment of not really updating some journals with how much memory loss and memory restoration is incorporated into the whole deal.
1 - in case you somehow missed playing Breath of the Wild:
So the conceit of BotW is that Link wakes up in a magic sensory deprivation chamber after a century long magic slumber, right? And shortly after the game starts you get a
Magic Wii U controller Sheikah Slate, that has 100 year old pictures saved in its Camera Roll. You return to these locations scattered around the world to make Link remember something that happened 100 years ago and watch a cutscene.
esper What’s the best use of a musical instrument in a non-music based video game? (21:53)
This is incredibly sick idc how juvenile it is