What’s better: Highlighted interactive objects or retrievable reusable ammo?

By admin Mar17,2024

Last time, you decided that a little hand for a cursor is better than left-handed FPS options. I dearly hope that when you clicked on your vote, your Windows cursor was a little gauntlet or skeletal hand or such. Onwards! This week, I ask you about grabbing (and poking, pulling, burning, pressing, activating, and otherwise using) stuff. What’s better, highlighted interactive objects or retrievable reusable ammo?

Highlighted interactive objects

Is this fruit loot? Is this door decor? Is this glass just trash? Can this switch be flipped? Is this puzzle a puzzle? Is this tree for me? Am I able to plug in this cable? Does this corpse hide a goodie or is it only a body? Is this backgammon background? Do these taps turn? Can I drag this bag? Does this scooter scoot? Should I punch this tree a bunch? Is this button simply stuck on? Two ways to figure this out: 1) wander around hitting E on everything until you understand the shape and limitations of this particular game (then getting dead narked five hours later when an object type which has so far been decorative is suddenly mission-critical); 2) look for what’s highlighted, outlined, glowing, framed, or throbbing.

When I was young, I thought the distant dream for all video games was fully interactive, fully simulated worlds. Just imagine! Everything works exactly as you would expect in the real world! In this world, it wouldn’t really matter if I missed the switch or the fuseboard it activated nor the replacement fuse that needed nor the generator this whole chain of chores powered, because I’d be able to cut through the lock with one of the many cutting blades I saw littering the storeroom, or perhaps I’d smash a window and jump out, or I’d blast through a wall with my rocket launcher, or… video games are rarely that (settle down, Teardown) and I no longer think that’s the goal all games should aspire towards. So sure, go on, give it a wee glow if it will help people not get annoyed by an element that’s usually not intended to be annoying in a game that would rather you did find this and get on with the rest that it thinks actually is more important to the intended experience than object-hunting.

It’s not for every game, of course. Uncertainty and discovery can be powerful things. But even in games which do highlight, there’s usually an option to turn it off if you want. And let’s not pretend that even grizzled veterans who profess to dislike highlighting likely spent years spotting interactive objects because they stood out starkly against pre-rendered backgrounds, or because early 3D worlds were so sparse that everything was something, or because they were models lit differently to world geometry, or…

Retrievable reusable projectiles

Whether it’s pulling arrows out of bodies, picking up hurled rocks, retrieving throwing knives from faces, or even scooping bullets to cram back into my revolver, I always enjoy opportunities to collect and reuse ammunition. It tickles many fancies for me.

Retrievable ammo is economical. These javelins cost me 50 silver pieces each, who can afford to throw that away? In this economy?

Retrievable ammo is merciful. After my sloppy aim painted a halo of bolts around the target’s head, thank you, video game, for letting me reuse all the misses.

Retrievable ammo is tactical. Especially when you have a limited supply, the decision of when and how to retrieve your ammo can apply a series of pressures leading to interesting decisions.

Retrievable ammo is sentimental. This is my fridge now, and I will lug it halfway across the city to hurl at the heads of every unwary guard.

Retrievable ammo is spiteful. I dislike you so much that I won’t even let your corpse keep the arrow.

But which is better?

Look, highlights might help you achieve your objectives, but do you really care about objectives when you could entertain yourself plinging and gathering your fun little projectiles? Ah, what do you think, reader dear?

Pick your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your case in the comments to convince others. We’ll reconvene next week to see which thing stands triumphant—and continue the great contest.

By admin

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