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Breaking the 4th Wall


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There’s a lot of conspicuous fourth wall gimmicks in MGS, and a lot of thematic stuff about it in MGS2, but that series is also full of these matter-of-fact acknowledgements that you’re playing a game that they neither feel the need to rationalise away nor to draw attention to. Characters talking to you about stuff on your HUD or the controller, that sort of thing. Just this honesty about the format, like lens flare and camera shake in CGI in movies.

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Nier’s Forest of Myth sequence has a bit of this, which I guess might be a spoiler with 1.22 out now…

 

Spoiler

It slips into an entirely text-based sequence, like interactive fiction or a visual novel, but it turns out that the “narrator” is acknowledged by the other characters in the game, and some funny back-and-forths happen as a result. :D 

 

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I was playing Rain On Your Parade yesterday and got to a little between-levels scene where

 

Spoiler

an old cloud tells you that you can upgrade your powers, and starts rattling off the convoluted in-game currencies and how you can buy them for real money, before stopping and saying something like "I'm just pulling your leg - there are no IAPs, you just unlock everything by playing. I know, what a concept, right?"

 

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10 minutes ago, Billy Brown said:

I haven’t played it, but this is pretty great:

 

 

That's brilliant. I love the line in the thumbnail as well, acknowledging the tedium of traipsing across the map to trigger a cut scene. More games to do with some self-aware dialogue like that.

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There's a game I played a while back where at some point you meet a character who says something to you like "I'm talking to you but I'm actually talking to the one guiding you. Yes, you. There's something you know that will help." but I can't remember what game it was. 

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11 minutes ago, deKay said:

There's a game I played a while back where at some point you meet a character who says something to you like "I'm talking to you but I'm actually talking to the one guiding you. Yes, you. There's something you know that will help." but I can't remember what game it was. 

 

Maybe Lair of the Clockwork God? Summat like that.

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7 minutes ago, moosegrinder said:

 

Maybe Lair of the Clockwork God? Summat like that.

 

There was a bit of that in it, yes - but it wasn't that game I'm thinking of.

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Not a mainstream game but the mobile game Simpsons : Tapped out explicitly makes it part of the plot, referring to the player as "Skyfinger" to the extent that eventually you end up with a statue.

 

image.png.2edb7fa285b742dab205fc2c9c3a064a.png

 

 

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29 minutes ago, deKay said:

There's a game I played a while back where at some point you meet a character who says something to you like "I'm talking to you but I'm actually talking to the one guiding you. Yes, you. There's something you know that will help." but I can't remember what game it was. 

 

I think there was something like this is one of the Mario RPGs, either a Paper Mario or a Mario & Luigi.

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I think the Earthbound/Mother games do this quite a lot. I’ve been playing Mother 3 recently, and while it’s a fan translation into English, I love how it dishes out the controls to the player and explains things like saving etc:

 

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42 minutes ago, deKay said:

There's a game I played a while back where at some point you meet a character who says something to you like "I'm talking to you but I'm actually talking to the one guiding you. Yes, you. There's something you know that will help." but I can't remember what game it was. 

 

Sounds like Assassin's Creed 2.

 

 

 

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There is a clever bit in Returnal in which
 

Spoiler

Selene, the playable character, is at the door of her house, but the screen freezes and starts zooming out to reveal a television screen with a PS5 controller in front of it, controlled by her son.

 

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More Kojima, but Death Stranding has its moments. Winks to the camera, for example. But I also get the impression a lot of cut sequences are played towards the viewer, with more of a stage play feeling than a cinematic one.

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I watched a playthrough of that new Wonderful Dizzy game recently. It has a couple of self-referential jokes about being a computer game right at the start, though they're not directed at the player so I don't think they quite count as fourth wall breaks:

 

Spoiler

 

Screenshot_20210510-122414.thumb.png.414461f7cb3619799f9fdfaae6c6f572.png

 

And once Dizzy puts on the magic boots...

 

Screenshot_20210510-122520.thumb.png.99a70e658334dc66a5b0eaac50e9d50a.png

 

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