Did anyone else used to play games like you presented E3 demos?

You can guess by reading the title that I was a super cool kid. Younger Jade was all about playing video games and hiding in the closet. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t that bad. I had lots of friends, hobbies that I loved, and a love for video games that lasted into adulthood. Now I’m a dirty game journalist, which soured my views a bit.

But before getting paid by publishers for reviews and adopting an agenda to destroy everything gaming with my filthy leftist brainwashing, I was a casual consumer like the rest of you. Well, I still am, loving nothing more than logging on to a press conference or press conference to watch a flurry of new trailers and keeping my fingers crossed for the reveals I’ve been waiting for. years. I grew up watching shows like this, and for so long I wanted to be a part of it.

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E3 demos are a special breed. Curated installments of upcoming games likely to fall apart the second they go off the rails, either by complete accident or entirely on purpose. Time and time again, we’ve seen beautiful previews of future games fall apart as those behind the scenes scramble to fix things before audiences notice. It’s tense to watch these situations unfold, praying for everything to be okay, but also morbidly hoping for everything to be okay.

I’ll never forget the iconic Madagascar section of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End that began with Nathan Drake refusing to budge from his starting position for several seconds. It was painful to watch as a controller had clearly stopped working on the debug console, causing staff to scramble to find a replacement hoping it wasn’t too late.

We finally saw the demo unfold, but not before that awkward start was seared into our heads. Naughty Dog even shipped the game off with a trophy honoring that moment, rewarding players with a tongue-in-cheek accolade for refusing to budge at the start of the chapter. He could have flown away, but choosing to have fun with his own unfortunate mistake meant we could embrace him just as much. E3 demos can so often be canned and clunky, filled with fake chatter and over-the-top set pieces that rarely represent the finished product, so such honesty will always be refreshing to me.

But I want to go back even further. Exploring the appeal of demos with deliberately slow camera movements and epic reveals designed to pull us into a myriad of worlds without ever representing the actual pace or even content of the games we’ll come to play. I’m talking about BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us, Fallout 4, and so many others that see us through new experiences with epic storytelling from voice actors or developers promising us something we’ve never seen before. It was so easy to be sold in the hype at times like this.

Like I said, I’m very cool. So when I played games with friends, I often joked that it was as an E3 demo as we entered a new area or the open world was revealed to us after hours of teasing. It can even be tempting to throw in a little fake storytelling, to oversell the game we already have in our hands when we already know what to expect. This works especially well with first-person games like Cyberpunk 2077 or Call of Duty where free-form exploration of explosive settings can be played with an infectious pace.

Pan up to a beautiful skybox before focusing on the streets below, walking slowly towards your objective while lingering over points of interest scattered around the environment as if you were introducing this game to an audience of millions of people. Act as if every procedural action is a secretly planned instance, engaging in combat with significant deliberation or moving in ways that ensure attention is never obscured by a viewer who doesn’t even exist. It’s oddly fun and allows us to see games in a light that our usual pace often isn’t able to accommodate.

Games are able to portray fictional kingdoms in ways that no other medium is able to do, so taking the time to smell the roses and shift our perspective to become more of a spectator can make revisiting games with this fascinating prospect. I did so much with the original BioShock. I was 11 when it came out, so don’t feel so pathetic reminding me of my attempts to demo the game while playing it for the thousandth time. Especially the opening.

BioShock’s first stage is iconic and utterly perfect to be presented at such a slow, gradual and deliberate pace. You are a random man who finds himself in a plane crash and stranded in the Pacific Ocean, with no way to move forward beyond a flickering lighthouse in the distance. You stumble inside looking for shelter until we encounter the Bathysphere, having no choice but to venture into the underwater city below in search of help. .

Andrew Ryan’s self-serving storytelling, Atlas’ humble introduction, and the way each new environment is designed to stun and surprise make this opening hour a treadmill of blazingly slow camera movements and brutal combat encounters. scripted. Much of it remains unmatched, and if BioShock were remade today, I could see that exact approach taken with an on-stage demo.

I have no shame in saying that – at least when it comes to repeat games – I would find myself playing small parts of games like this. Maybe it was about introducing my favorite games to someone who doesn’t even exist, or adding a new layer of fun to worlds and characters I’d seen countless times before.

You might even think of it as a form of role-playing, taking off the expected role of a player and putting me in new shoes for the first time. Maybe I’m just being weird, but next time you boot up a beloved classic, pretend you’re sitting in the chair of a nervous developer trying to make it look like the best game in the history of everything. . You might discover something new or just have a little fun.

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