Video Games utilise many different things to provide the player with a unique gaming experience, some employ orchestral music, while others rely on stunning visuals. But some games use hardware to enhance the user experience and no I’m not talking about virtual reality. I’m talking about a marriage of hardware and gameplay that come together to elevate their respective games to something more than a mere gimmick. With that said here are 5 Times Video Games Used Hardware To Blow Our Minds.
(5) Alien: Isolation
I don’t think very many of you will be surprised to see Alien: Isolation on this list as it is one of the most infamous video games to employee hardware to enhance the users experience or in my case make me openly weep. Alien: Isolation is already an intense survival horror game with some of the most pants-soilingly terrifying atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. So I’d like to meet the horrible bastard that decided to make it even more suspenseful by adding sound detection. Yes that’s right, if you play Alien: Isolation with a headset the Alien can actually hear you if you’re too loud and for a game that makes me shriek like a small child that is a given. It adds yet another layer of intensity to an already stressful game and weaves together the narrative and the gameplay beautifully.
(4) Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is about (you guessed it) two brothers, Naiee and his older brother Naia, who are on a quest to heal their sick father. A standard video game plot, but what sets Brothers apart is the way in which the game is played. You see each Brother is controlled with one of the two analogue sticks, something that becomes intuitive very quickly. While this is an interesting gameplay mechanic it isn’t until near the end of the game that we fully understand its gravity. You see near the end …SPOILERS … Naia dies and you are left to continue on with only one brother, and using only one analogue stick. This is a wonderfully bittersweet piece of gameplay because not only did I feel an emotional loss but a physical one too and with every step taken it was a loss keenly felt.
(3) Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Ever since I finished Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice I have taken every opportunity to tell my gaming friends to pick it up as it is one of the most affecting video game experiences I have ever had. It follows the tale of Senua, a young female Pict warrior journeying to Helheim to reclaim the soul of her lost love all the while suffering from psychosis. Senua’s psychosis takes the form of hallucinations and voices in her head, which brings me to the hardware mechanic in question, the voices. When the game starts it suggests using headphones to get the full experience and believe me when I say you certainly do get an experience. Through the headphones I was given a glimpse into what it must be like to suffer from this illness, having these unfriendly, often hostile, voices in my head made me deeply uneasy. Through this simple use of hardware I was afforded one of the most unique gaming experiences of my life. While I wouldn’t call it an enjoyable experience it is certainly one worth experiencing.
(2 & 1) Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid was one of the first video games I ever played and for me it was the first game that showed me that video games could be more than just colourful mascot platformers. It showed me that they were capable of telling a story in an utterly unique way, a way that made the player part of that story. In fact it is so good at that I actually have two examples of exceptional uses of hardware from this game alone. The first example is when Psycho Mantis reads your memory card, and depending on how often you save he will comment on “how you play it safe”, or are “too reckless”. This is a fantastic way to get inside the players head both literally and metaphorically.
The second moment was just after withstanding Ocelot’s torture and Naomi has you place the PSone Dual-Shock on your arm and vibrates it to “heal” you. To this day there have been few moments in gaming that have perfectly coupled together narrative and hardware. It cements the bond between the player and Solid Snake as both are in pain, exhausted from the ordeal and are in desperate need of relief. For me this is a level of immersion that developers are still unable to top, even with the current generation of tech.
Well, those are 5 Times Video Games Used Hardware To Blow Our Minds. Can you think of any that should’ve made the list or just disagree? Let us know in the comments below, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel and if you’re feeling generous feel free to donate to our Patreon, thanks for reading.