Digital Museum –Part 1
An idea that sparked out of fascination
I usually dedicate these articles to writing about video games, and sometimes maybe cartoons, and how they relate to language. For a change, I want to write about something that is “This should’ve been in Spanish” or “It was bad because it was an obscure dialect” or something like that. I want to write about something that fascinates me and the impossibility of materialising it. Although this is merely a single part of what appealed to me so much in video games when I was younger, which hopefully I’ll get to talk more about in the future, I want to focus on the spectacles that make up the many explosive supermoves you see in every fighting game. I won’t get to talk about everything in this article, so I’m separating it into parts. This is merely an introduction to what’s about to come.
Even at a young age, the thing that fascinated me the most about video games was the flashy visuals that always sparked beyond the screen, and vividly too, seeing how the characters that make them move around the screen like they were dancers on ice. There was something so fascinating seeing this random fighting game in the arcades as a kid and then seeing one of the combatants blaze through a cloud to cut the opponent a thousand times. Of course, I’m talking about the incorporation of choreography with visual effects in video games. An aspect so underappreciated is that nobody talks about it. I’m not sure what the origin of “making flashy visuals” is since nobody really cared about it. But if I had to say, I think that the first game to popularise a cosmetic feature would be Mortal Kombat.
Controversy aside, Mortal Kombat is best known for one thing, and one thing only — Fatalities, a feature in the game that allows the player to kill their opponent in a gruesomely graphic manner brutally. However, when the game is viewed as a whole, you realise that the Fatalities are a purely cosmetic feature, or in simpler terms, they only exist to look cool. This means that if Fatalities didn’t exist, it wouldn’t really change the odds of defeating that one friend-of-a-friend you met in middle school who’s secretly a fighting game prodigy. On the other hand, if Fatalities didn’t exist, Mortal Kombat wouldn’t have become the cultural phenomenon that still stands strong nearly 30 years after its debut.
Again, this is only a prelude
So it seems to me that I won’t get to write about the meat of this subject, because apparently, one article isn’t enough. Still, I don’t think I have properly conveyed the idea of what I’m talking about. Although usually, at this point, I would say, “This can’t be in French because it’s not authentic”, I want to talk about the history of flashy visuals in video games.
So far, there isn’t anything that could act as a good starting point. The most I can say is that it just happened in the arcade games of the early 90s, mainly the fighting games, and the supermoves were only flashy to distinguish themselves as “superior” moves to the more common basic moves. It was important to showcase them in the attract mode to give people a reason to play those specific cabinets. But it’s only because nobody cared that there isn’t a designated “super move bible” in existence. Even when Mortal Kombat made the aspect of cosmetic features popular (that is, the Fatalities), most people would just use it as a means to spark controversy, trying to explain why today’s youth is so violent (again, this is the 90s).
As a kid, seeing all those flashy moves, me and friends back then competed on who could pull off that rising fire punch we just saw that one kid (who was twice our age) do. But that was in the arcades, and with the improvement in technology over the decades, developers are able to showcase in their games brighter visuals and more complex animations. And still, nobody ever talks about the necessity of these features or even suggesting something like “what if we could do more with it?” because that’s basically what I want to do.
I swear, there’s more to this
Because again, I won’t be able to talk about all of this in just one article. That’s why this is only part 1. But basically, what I want is to take the aspect of supermoves, how they look like and behave, and make that the focus of a game.
I know that it sounds a bit vague, and I hope to go into more details about that in the next article. Still, it goes like this: make a game where the core feature revolves around supermoves, for the sole purpose of watching them or, in other words, a game that’s an exhibition of supermoves.
Of course, I suppose that the first thoughts that come to mind are the issues presented with such an idea, namely the probability of success and the questionable necessity. But problems aside, what if there was a game with tons of flashy explosions just to look at… Although some games do have that, they are never the focus of the game itself. On the premise that they are simply “fun to watch”, I propose a game where the focus is supermoves, where there are a few hundreds of them in a single game. Every one of them tells a story, so it’s basically like watching a montage of emotional expressions manifesting as colourful explosions. It would be a game where you simply have… something to watch.
I’ll talk about the problems next time but for now, share your thoughts
I understand that there still might’ve been some information left out, so if you have any questions regarding what the hell I’m talking about, feel free to ask. I’ll be sure to talk more about it next time.
I didn’t get to talk about everything, which is understandable, given that I only get a thousand words (give or take) per article. But in a nutshell, I’m talking about the relevance of visuals in video games, specifically those of the flashy kind displayed as supermoves, and how they can be made into a video game.
This supposed video game goes by the premise that every supermove is a story in itself, told in half a minute of bright lights and flying people. Just going by that description makes it hard to understand what I’m going at, and such a game would pose too many problems for it to materialise.
But that’s the subject for next time…