The Little Things in Games Thread - Waypoint Edition

Not entirely related, but this reminded me that near the end of MGS3, when you have to escort Eva, you can check her dietary history in the same way you can check your own in the medicine menu. It’s chock full of Chinese food, because she’s a Chinese double agent and the history goes back before she was deployed.

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To follow up on the hair and clothes physics being mentioned here, in both Witcher 2 AND 3 Geralt’s hair clips through his clothing and you’re looking at it literally the entire game! Probably my least favourite thing about both games, which I love otherwise.

To add something positive, I’ll say that I absolutely love the optional scene in Witcher 3 where Ciri mourns her viking friend. Even though he’s an exceedingly minor character in the overall story it just feels like the emotions of the character are being taken very seriously.

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Also I realised today that some of the dialogue in BoTW is surprisingly reactive? Like I talked to a guy in a new area and he said he remembered me from a quest on the other side of the map, even mentioning that I’d attempted it but hadn’t succeeded yet. There must be all kind of crazy stuff like that in the game, like I wonder what happens if you
go to the tech lab before Kakariko
??

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I really enjoy fake food brands and products in video games. Some games that stand out for me in this regard is Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Doom 3. The soda machines in Doom 3 are pretty good.

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In Yakuza 0 I was walking around the streets of Osaka and saw a cat that quickly walked into an alley I couldn’t enter. I changed to first person view and panned the camera in there to reveal:


just a bunch of cats, hanging out, nothing earth shattering. But I like how they programmed these little details that you wouldn’t even see if you weren’t poking around the game.

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Probably going to be a lot of Nintendo in here.

In the first Metroid Prime, you have a HUD and your weapon select has logos for your hand on it. Each weapon has a unique color, and a unique hand pose, which you don’t really put much thought into. It’s alien technology you’re wearing, and a lot of the text logs you find talk about how Chozo tech is kind of inscrutable and hard to reverse engineer. There’s a great little snippet you find about how the space pirates tried to recreate the morph ball for themselves and just ended up crushing a bunch of their own people to death before giving up.

Eventually, you get an X-Ray visor which allows you to see through certain things, one of them being your own arm canon. If you look carefully, you can see that whenever you change your weapon, your hand changes its position to match the logo on your HUD. The game never calls attention to this and unless you’re looking closely you’ll never even notice.

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Another fun MGS3 detail is that in the 3DS port (I still think it’s wild they did one), the stereoscopic 3D effect only works up until the point in the story where Snake loses one of his eyes. With only 1 eye, he’d have no depth perception, so the 3D effect is disabled in the game.

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The melting ice cubes on the tanker in MGS2 were the first thing that came to mind. They melt at different rates depending on proximity!

In Fallout 2, there are condom items (called Jimmy Hats, and because Fallout 2 is ridiculous there’s even variations of them: lubed/unlubed/ribbed) and if your Chosen One engages in some hot blackoutscreen action, a condom will be consumed if you have one. If you don’t have one when you sleep with a particular character (and you’re a dude) then it can give you a different ending for one of the areas, because you’ll get an important character pregnant!

Somebody’s already mentioned Lara wringing her hair when she comes out of the water in Rise of the Tomb Raider.

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I always thought the things you can decorate your ship with in Mario Odyssey were a huge waste of moons when there are sick costumes to be had - until I found this bit of interactivity:

This conversation with an AI in the original Deus Ex has always stuck with me. Be aware that this conversation contains spoilers.

It was incredibly bold to say these kinds of things in a video game in 2000 (the first game to use the word ‘fuck’ came out just one year prior), and, in my eyes, it has aged well. It’s also worth noting that, if I remember correctly, this conversation is off the beaten path, requiring that you break into the area where this AI is stored. To hide such an impressive moment in a game as wild as this is just another in the long list of reasons why I love Deus Ex so fuckin much.

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Divinity Original Sin II is basically an entire game of little things, made into larger things, mashed all up into a huge, beautiful, messy thing. But the one thing I want to focus on is the Pet Pal talent. It is a perk you can get for any of your party members that allows you to talk to animals. It could have very easily been a gag and not very fleshed out, but the writers go all in. There are so many little stories and quests to find around the world just by talking to animals and they are all well written (and well acted!) and they are all over the place tone wise. Some of the stories are really funny, a couple are very sad, and even more some are quite touching some of my favorites:

  • Teaching a dog about the concept of death. (Act 2 spoiler)
  • Helping a turtle who’s in love with a rat, but too slow to catch up to it by dropping a trail of food for the rat to follow to her. (Act 2 spoiler)
  • Discovering the dogs in the first prison are actually human. (Act 1 spoiler)
  • Helping settle an argument between a cat and a dog in Ryker’s mansion. (Act 2 spoiler)
  • Helping a bear cub find his dead mother (that one was very sad). (Act 1 spoiler)

It just makes me so happy that a talent that I picked for my character half-jokeingly turned out to be useful and making the game so much better!

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In the original Bioshock during the opening scene where you’re swimming among the fiery wreckage of the plane crash iirc you can watch the large tail section of the plane slowly sink into the water if you stare at it long enough (it takes a while). This same piece then crashes into one of the city’s tunnels and causes a flood a little later into the game, and it was such a small thing that made me buy into the world a lot more. In Bioshock 2, you can also see this tail section in the distance jutting out from the same tunnel from a room in a different section of the city.

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I’ve really come to appreciate just how near perfect Alpha Protocol’s dialog wheel was. I’m enjoying Mass Effect, but the wheel system has moments where it fails to feed information to how your reply will be or what the outcome brings, like the now infamous renegade choice on the citadel that ends with a surprise sex scene. I also like long dialog choice menus with dialog trees, but they tend to loop a LOT.

Alpha Protocol solves all these issues by usually leaving dialog choices to tone instead of choice. Since it’s a spy game, you’re encouraged to talk to different people in different ways so they get different impressions of you. It also adds a timer, so you have to act fast in deciding how to respond or pick any other options that pop up that may benefit you. It trains you to pay attention and makes dialog scenes almost feel like action segments, which I’ve never seen done before so elegantly in any other game.

It’s also amazing how tone changes things even more than simple choice. For example, the bad guy in Rome will always survive the story arc and return in the final area, where you can either fight him again or convince him to leave if you impressed him enough earlier.

Or you can just pick suave options, not do your research before you encounter him, and then at the part where he runs away, you can give him such a cutting insult that he instantly goes back in the fight and you can kill him right then and there.

The game is filled with stuff like that. My favorite bit is based on how you talk with the information broker in Moscow decides if he tells your target who you are. It turns out that being friendly has him rat you out - but he only has positive things to say and your target trusts you right away. I’m liking Bioware’s stuff so far, but none of what I’ve played has had moments of cause and effect that satisfying.

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There’s a part of me that believes the entire port was developed for this specific moment, since it was a weird game to choose to port out of any of the series and they never pursued putting other MGS games on there. Also, at the time, the thought was that people would be using the 3D all the time so it would be noticed by most players.

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yesterday i was playing through ZOMBI for the Waypoint 101 and, being from London, a lot of the small details really tickled me.
the circular wall mounted help points and the standing information boards in the underground system were really surreal to see in game but the best thing was the posters from the supermarket area.

They perfectly recreate the look of ASDA advertisements.


like, the developers werent content making a generic “supermarket” deals poster. they said “this is London goddammit, you’re gonna loot an Asda”

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I will always remember that old interview they did prerelease where they were talking about how genuine they were trying to make it’s depiction of London, talking about the game starting in Kings Cross Station, and the interviewer just drops that Kings Cross isn’t an underground station, and the dev is just like “fuck, shit, god dammit, fucking hell”

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It always stood out to me how dark Dragons Dogma gets. Most games will just have some artificial lighting be it the stars or moon or whatever but once the sun goes down or you are in a cave you see NOTHING and that just amplifies so much of the tension & drama of the game. That small detail just changes so much of how you play the game. Leaving the cities means planning out a rout, determining who the enemies on that rout are & how difficult they are to face. Are there shortcuts? Is there an encampment where I can stay the night? Just in case, how many oil flasks do I have? Do I have any illumination spells?

I just love how much a tiny change in lighting can change how an entire game is played. DD is A+

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I just remembered one more!

Prey

if you want to discover it for yourself: start a new game and look all the way down during the first helicopter ride.

Spoiled: When you get into the helicopter at the beginning of the game to fly to the tests, your characters taps their foot to the rhythm of the rad synth-wave playing over the opening credits! This is so completely off the tone of the rest of the game, but such a delightful little easter egg!

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So at the very start of The Surge, you’re being dragged by the foot by a small drone. You break free, fight the drone with an old pipe. Solid intro.

In NG+, as soon as you gain control of your character, a high level enemy screams and does a fuckin’ lariat on the drone, killing it instantly. Cue immediate panic as it turns to you. It’s very good.

Yall should play The Surge, it’s real good.

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Not sure if this is “little” but in Caves of Qud randomly generates books that you can find. It also randomly generates lore of dead sultans. Really neat stuff.

I also think Jack King-Spooner does great stuff with little things. See: Beeswing, Dujanah

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When you get drunk in Sea of Thieves, the instruments you play become discordant to match

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