Monday, 19 January 2009

Game Walls (rant warning)

I've been playing games for a while
I've been playing computer games on a regular basis for quite a while now. Well, since the age of 13; I am aware that most kids these days have been playing them before they could speak, but basically my parents did not want me going near them until my mental abilities had developed a fair bit first.

What is a game wall?
Anyway. One thing that has irked me about
computer games, especially ones developed in the West, is that they have game walls. Now you may be unfamiliar with this term (perhaps unfamiliar with computer games, but I can do nothing about that), but put simply a game wall is an invisible wall that a player may come across whilst playing a computer game, and it cannot be transcended, traversed etc... You're avatar may be happily walking around in a game environment, the next moment it can no longer progress forwards, and if you're lucky there's a message somewhere on the screen saying that you are unable to go that way and must turn round.

Now when you're playing a game such as Bethesda's Oblivion this is annoying. Sure the map on the map screen may have boundaries, but the map is not constantly showing. So if your avatar/character is happily walking along collecting alchemy ingredients and then you find you can go no further it jolts you out of the game. That is a pain, but what is more annoying is seeing perfectly fine, easily traversed landscape continuing in the direction you're not allowed to proceed in.

Oblivion is not all that bad
To an extent Oblivion had a just about an acceptable piece of logic within the game: the boundaries were where different countries met. So it's not the worst offender. I just don't like being reminded I'm playing a game as I wonder about a non-existent world with my non-existent level 26 sorcerer collecting non-existent flower parts for potions.

Fallout 3 is the same
The same has happened with Fallout 3, another of Bethesda's games. Now, I'm not trying to call out Bethesda on this, but they're the only two examples I can remember at the moment, and it is these two games that I've been playing regularly for the last few months.

Seriously, game walls are annoying
I just don't like these invisible walls. Now if it was an obstacle I had no hope of getting around, under or over, then fine. This is often not the case. Invisible walls just seem lazy.

I dislike game walls, because they take me out of the fantasy that I'm taking part in when I play a free roaming computer game. I understand that they're necessary, but that doesn't mean I have to like them.

Related links
Bethesda's official blog
Bethesda's main website

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