Distractions in Videogames

  • Yesterday I was playing Gears of War 5 and I found myself constantly distracting myself by taking in the environment around me whilst playing online co-op. Shooting up locust enemies is par for the course in Gears but what I didn't think would be par for the course is running around seeing what food is left on the abandoned dinner plates and what niceties there are in the kitchen area. Seriously I spent time trying to figure out whether it was a sandwich or a cake left on one of these plates. I also started to notice that the devs have placed microwaves about levels, so I've been trying to make them my own form of collectible although you can't pick them up. Are there any games where you're constantly distracted by the miscellaneous stuff found laying about?

  • Actually in Gears 5, I lost a lot of time looking at the environmental storytelling in the campaign. Some areas are really good at that.

    In The Witcher 3 I discovered that you could slide when the terrain gets to a certain inclination so I spent a few hours in that game going up mountains and finding good sliding spots.

  • The Last of Us Part II. I even did it more than necessary that I started to feel game isn't going anywhere. Because of me of course. But I'm trying to not exaggerate it anymore.

  • Breath of the Wild, always chasing something interesting looking while heading to something interesting looking.

  • Banned

    I catch myself doing this a lot with TLOU2. The environmental storytelling is aces, and I really think about what life was like for the people living in these spaces.

    I also thought AC Origins had a really interesting play area, since it was big enough to be massive but still see significant landmarks from almost anywhere in the map. Every time I'd go to a new location I'd look around to see if I could still see the pyramids.

  • Nowadays, nope. The closest thing would be getting boss souls in a Souls game then going online to look up how to turn them into a powerful boss weapon. Or maybe screwing around in photo mode for an hour or so, making absolutely no progress in the game, then not touching photo mode for a long time.

    But back in the day, most of the way I played a game was one big distraction. I'd rarely even focus on beating a Hitman level properly cause I was too preoccupied with terrorizing one random AI character. Or in GTA IV, I'd try to get security guards to punch airport cops because their AI both reacts to things with lethal force so you could start a war between security guards and airport cops. In Skate 2 I'd spend literally an hour trying to coffin ride down the drained dam. In Fight Night I'd spend more time headbutting people than actually beating the game.

    I know those aren't the usual distractions but I swear I used to play games with the utmost ADD and a sprinkle of mild autistic tendencies.

  • I remember being distracted by the broken debris and interiors back when I played Battlefield 3 for the first time, seeing that kind of stuff kinda blew my mind. It took me a while before I got used to buildings blowing up in that game. More recently, back when I did my Uncharted 4 photo mode tour, I noticed a bunch of stuff that I would have missed, like a camera that dropped out of one of the enemies in the Madagascar level, or the visible smoke from street foods being cooked in the Market level.

    I also got distracted a lot back when I played the Shenmue remasters, the level of detail packed in those games' world are insane.

  • About a third of my time playing Halo 1 was spent zooming in on the textures.

  • I started Hollow Knight over when it came to Plus. I'm maybe two or three hours in, but I forgot how much I love to just stop and look around at the environment. There's always so much happening in the foreground and background and always feels so alive. I don't really like taking screenshots or photo modes, but there's something alive and special about the way Hollow Knight's world, environments, music and characters all come together to just make me want to take a knee really often and absorb the surroundings like a painting.

    Similarly, I am still probably not even halfway done with Last of Us 2 because it makes me stressed and sad when I play it at the moment (I'm from the Seattle area and can't travel or go back there at the moment, so seeing it overcome by a pandemic is... Rough). When I do play it though, I'm constantly just looking at the little details and piecing together the lives of people who lived in abandoned houses, or what life would have been like a long time ago. It's melancholic, but it's something that I've always loved doing in that sort of game; seeing things left behind sort of like the homes in Chernobyl that are a snapshot of a specific time and life that was suddenly cut short. A good portion of my time in the game has just been going through apartments and looking at literally everything for a very long time.