What is perfection?
I know what the definition of the word is, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen it.
As a writer (I know I’m being generous with that title) I often look back at what I’ve written and kick myself for not doing a better job. However, even if it were the best it could be, I’d still mess with it.
See there’s something in our minds that makes us want to make everything just a little better and sometimes we just end up doing the opposite.
One of the main things done here on this blog are reviews, which are simply myself judging how close to perfect something is. However, that’s kind of impossible.
It’s impossible because perfection doesn’t really exist. Perfection is a perspective only shared by one person, this case myself.
While we may think that something is perfect, there will be people who don’t see it that way.
Case and point, the latest Naughty Dog game, the Last of Us.
The game features some of the best storytelling and voice acting I’ve ever seen. Each character feels like they’re big enough to be featured in their own story. Ellie and Joel end up having one of the most interesting relationships in games since…Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr? (There aren’t really any Father-Daughter characters in games.)
Despite this, the story is very linear. To the point that it kind of shoe horns you into an experience that is not really the players. (Don’t worry, no spoilers ahead)
While most games are linear, Last of Us feels like it wants to be bigger, and when a opportunity is possibly given near the games conclusion, the game takes the choice out of your hands and leaves you to deal with it.
Would giving the player a choice at the end made the game better? I don’t know, but most people want a choice never the less.
Another, all be it a less high profile game, would be Alan Wake.
The game was in development for 5 years until it was released in 2010. The game changed forms a number of times and ended up being a fairly good game with problems.
The fighting was repetitive, the product placement was annoying and the platforming was laughable at best but this didn’t stop the game from being fun.
Alan Wake is a game that I recommend to people due to the fact that it’s one of the best examples of a solid game that doesn’t feel like another game.
True the game had more than a small resemblance to Twin Peaks at times but there really wasn’t a game like it, outside of maybe a Silent Hill. The world of Alan Wake is feels bigger than the game and that’s its strongest feature.
In both cases, Last of Us and Alan Wake, the games feature a world that is so clearly defined that you want to see more of what’s happening around the corner.
Sure the Bright Falls videos for Alan Wake were confusing but they helped gather interest in the weird world that we were going to visit leaving us with lots of questions (which weren’t really answered).
The point I’m trying to make is that when it comes to fiction most people can look past the flaws and enjoy the product for what it is. I’m sure if you sit back and think about it there are plenty of examples in movies, television or books that you’ve love for years.
In some cases like the Last of Us or movies like Blade Runner, the imperfections make the product even more interesting.
So while there are people locking themselves in a room somewhere worrying about making their work “perfect” the truth is not all things have to be that way. The important thing is making your product original and interesting enough to get the view/player/reader to keep going.
Sometimes they can see past a jumping mechanic.