Moments that wouldn't happen in any other game

I'm stealing this from a conversation with @kerwin where he was telling stories about Shemue III - Shenmue being one of those series whose interactions you would never really mistake for any other.

Here are two stories he told:

so they added this mechanic where your health is constantly dropping and if it drops most of the way you can't sprint anymore, which would make the game basically unplayable. you eat food throughout the day to keep your health up. so in the kitchen in the house ryo is staying in, there's a shelf where a single apple and a single banana spawn every morning. and picking them up is this very surreal sequence instead of just pressing A to get them instantly or whatever

you go into first person mode and look at one of them, then the camera kind of sweeps in and the music turns to this ominous "investigating" music that happens when you look at something close up in first person

then ryo says to himself (every morning) "banana...? do they grow these in the village?"

then you press A and he says "guess i'll take it." and his hand extends out and does the exact same stiff animation from the first two games where his fingers awkwardly enclose the object like a claw game

then the camera shifts to the apple. "looks good." press A. "guess i'll take it." claw fingers

then you press B to get out of investigation and the music goes back to normal


at the end of every day you can talk to shenhua, the girl whose house you're staying in, and ryo will ask her questions about the village and she'll ask him about japan. but of course to make it as awkward and weird as possible, shenhua is often sitting completely still totally upright at the kitchen table, and ryo is just standing looming over her wherever you were when you pushed the talk button

at the end of one of the conversations ryo says something about how his quest for revenge drives him. and shenhua says that revenge always ends in disaster and that he should let it go. ryo uncharacteristically gets heated and says "I've had enough of this!" and the conversation ends

and then i'm just standing there above her in the kitchen and i notice there's a prompt for another conversation so i press A

and ryo says "Shenhua, do people celebrate birthdays here?"

i thought the funniest possible thing was him crowding her at the table and being like WHAT GAMES DID YOU PLAY AS A KID but that sudden shift was just too perfect


What other perfect "this encapsulates this game" experiences have struck you? I'll come up with one of my own after stealing this one :P

The Souls series seems rife for things like this. Or maybe its just a moment that sticks with me.

In the final area of Bloodborne you pretty much will get invaded if you play online. So I see the message that another player has invaded my world but from the high perch I am on I can't spot them. I wait several minutes in the same spot rather than go father and get attached from behind while fighting enemies. Then off in the distance I see the invader coming towards me and pull out my torch and click my saw cleaver into trick mode. I think seeing I have the high ground and am anticipating their attack they pause, turn, and then exit out of the invasion. This moment of "nope"-ing out of an encounter feel very Soul-Bourne to me.

@robinhoodie#743 I think one of the very integral things about the SoulsBourne series for me is the slipperiness of edges and how much you just fall like a rock after running off them (via being tricked, or accidentally). The feeling of encountering a tough enemy when you‘re far into an area, you dodge one of their attacks, and then begin to plummet as if you were thrown downwards - I can’t think of anything else where falling on accident feels so very intense.

I'm trying hard to think of something else, but beyond the constant ramping up of both enemy scale and quick time event visual flourish in Asura's Wrath, I'm drawing a bit of a blank. This is taking me on a trip of trying to think of really unique feels and moments I've had from games (moving in Ecco, pushing beyond the speed of the camera in Sonic, the weird set-piece area/rooms in Xenogears), which is a really good time.

Another good one - not 100% unique to this, but certainly indicative - is in Spy Fiction.

You take on the guise of various professions to "blend in" to your environment. So you can be in your spy garb, then just jump into a trash can or a locker or whatever and change into a chef's outfit and hang out. You've got a "blend" button in spy fiction, that corresponds to a specific action dependent on the outfit you've got on. With the chef, you just start like chopping vegetables in the air.

So you'll be in the lunch room of a top secret place you're not supposed to be in, and a guard might notice you and go "HUH!?" But then you start just chopping imaginary vegetables and the guard is like oh, must've been my imagination, this person is obviously supposed to be here.

I love that kind of stuff.

Hitman 2016 is a game built out of those kind of moments. Or plays a lot with them. You drown someone in a bathroom sink then leave the water running while walking nonchalantly away as guards run into the room to see what's going on.

The Yakuza games, a big crime game that does not let you attack innocent people.

The only context I‘ll add to these images is that although damage is measured in single digits, you’re typically doing thousands of points of damage with your attacks and the minimum amount you can deal is 10. The first one is also from a boss. [upl-image-preview url=//]

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those are definitely some small numbers next to big numbers!

For a while I was super into survival/construction games like Minecraft, Subnautica, etc. They all have this bizarre focus on both strongly scaling your power upward through a crafting-based tech tree, and on keeping all the survival mechanics consistent throughout the game. So in Minecraft you can build a giant robot that walks and shoots TNT and shit, but you still have to plant each stalk of grain you eat by hand. You can automate some parts of the food creation process, but there are certain actions which you cannot automate. Unlike the real world, whenever you grow in power, you do not become more abstracted from the landscape that sustains you.

In Subnautica early access, there were a couple moments which hit this weird discontinuity REALLY hard. You could make an enormous house-sized submarine powered by nuclear batteries and glide it around the ocean in supreme power, but you still had to keep eating, and the submarine didn't have a lot of space to cultivate food. So I would end up sailing around the ocean kicking ass, but getting INCREDIBLY hungry and thirsty and having to dive out of the submarine to go catch fish with my BARE HANDS and then drag them back into the ship and fry them up individually and eat them. Classic Subnautica: you are the lord of the ocean but you have to waste thirty minutes every few hours chasing these incredibly agile and tricky fish around in a 3D void (very hard in FPS games!) and snagging them with your bare hands and if you can't grab the fish fast enough, you die!

This is always funny to me, and particularly in a sci-fi game like Subnautica, because IRL whenever someone grows in power, the minutae of actually staying alive become less and less immediate to them--they don't have to think much about how exactly their food gets on their plate. In Subnautica, though, power never exempts you from this shit.

I wrote an essay about this years ago when I was running Zam; they rebranded to Fanbyte and I don't think the essay is accessible there anymore. However it's on my blog [here.](

I‘ve been playing a bunch of Overgrowth/Lugaru lately, and the platforming in it is wild (so is the combat, but that’s a whole other thing I‘m not good enough at to explore just yet).

You’re a rabbit person, and boy, can rabbits jump. There‘s a few platforming segments where you look at a surface way in the distance, think "I know I jump far, but there no way I’ll jump that far" then go for it. And not only can you jump that far, but you grossly overshoot the platform and plummet to your doom. There‘s a generous checkpoint system, which helps, but the ability to greatly overshoot what feels like a rough goal and wind up failing exactly because you were worried about not making it doesn’t come up too often for me (and certainly never on this scale).

@James-#917 This sounds awesome, haha. How much of Overgrowth is this kind of platforming vs brutal combat systems? I remmber playing Lugaru and bouncing off of it because the combat was harder than I cared to master.

@Facewizard I like that one!! specific constraints can cause a lot of unusual interactions - ultimately it's about resource management, where the scarcity of one vital element is just non-negotiable.

Also, overgrowth, more like overshot!!!

@Facewizard#922 The combat can be pretty brutal, but if you set it to easy and mainly use jumping + the in air kick attack, it‘s a lot more gentle. Easy has the added bonus of turning game speed down to 80%, which helps with the platforming as well.

Lugaru I’d say is almost 90% combat. Overgrowth is a lot more 50/50. The combat is a lot smoother and more robust than Lugaru as well - it‘s very much an evolution of the source.

For reference of how much it’s changed - in Lugaru, the final level is a really viscious fight with a bunch of very powerful enemies (one stage, 5 or 6 enemies that you could wind up fighting all at once, no checkpoints), in Overgrowth, it's a really amazing platforming segment capped off with a few tricky but not heartless fights (3 fights, checkpoints between them). I think I bounced back to checkpoints less times between the platforming and fighting on the final stage on Overgrowth on Normal less times than I had to restart the final stage of Lugaru on Easy.

Worth noting, Overgrowth is 67% off right now, so now is the time to give it a try if you're considering it.