Last time, you decided that snap-to construction is better than fighting a little beastie then meeting the giant adults. I can respect that. It's practical. It's not bullying. Maybe you don't enjoy getting your comeuppance. But the alternative is still pretty funny. Onwards! This week, I ask you to pick between helping people find things in an environment and using part of the environment as a weapon. What's better: Tagging locations for teamies, or door violence?
Tagging locations for teamies
While the most obvious communications technology advancement in multiplayer video games since the dialup days has been widespread voice chat (which you previously decided is not better than heals harming the undad), the greatest is tagging locations. Even if I had not become one of the people who instantly disable voice chat in every game, I would find it more helpful to quickly and easily drop a marker to tell my team "Here, this."
Press a key and there it is, a little dot on the UI for all to see. Here's a thing. I want it brought to your attention. I believe you will find this useful. Sniper on this ridge. Ammo here. Gun there. Drop on this spot. Healthpack in this cupboard. Drive through this gully. Regroup in this building. Think I heard something over there somewhere. You'll usually want text or voice to add this context, explain exactly what it is you're highlighting, but verbal communication is quick for context and achingly slow for precise location. You want a tag for that.
Robust tagging systems let you either tag through the map (if it has one) or directly by pointing at a place in the world. Great systems automatically label tagged items too, letting people quickly assess its relevance to them. And if you're really lucky, characters will have voice lines automatically calling that out too, another little poke to focus attention.
Tags have only ever made a game better for me. They're unexciting in isolation but you don't spoon salt down your gullet either, do you?
The best form of violence is slapstick. Well, slapstick or utterly showering in viscera. But probably slapstick. While sadly few video games offer us the opportunity to blithely turn around while carrying a ladder on our shoulders, some do at least let us perform violence by opening doors into an enemy's face.
I like how vulnerable a protagonist feels when an important part of their violence toolkit is the act of quickly opening a door. In survival horror games, there's me, just some person armed with household items, desperately hoping to daze an unspeakable horror with a door so I can either flee or hammer its faces in. When the apocalypse comes, you'll find me lurking down the B&Q. Hotline Miami uses doors this way too; you might be on a drugged-up neon killing spree but you're still weak enough that you need to seize any edge you can.
On the flipside, quickly opening a door can highlight how superhuman a murderer you are. Take a method of violence which typically doesn't do much more than leave someone bruised and swearing then turn it deadly. I'm especially thinking of the upcoming Anger Foot (demo available on Steam), where many fights begin with you kicking a door so hard it flies off the hinges and splats anyone behind. Great booting. And it's a delight in Dead Cells to roll through a closed wooden door with such force that it explodes into splinters and stuns enemies.
I would like to tell you that I think it's clever to use a mundane object for unfamiliar purposes, tethering a game to reality while highlighting the unmundanity by making you see it in a new light. But mostly I think it's very funny when you hit someone with a door. Look at you, you've fallen on your bottom. Reader dear, please tell me about more good times you've bumped folks or been bumped yourself.
But which is better?
This one is a toughie for me. Tagging locations is so practical, door violence is such fun. Um. Ah. Hmm. What do you think?
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.