The Fourth Wall

adam_head By: Adam


Not that long ago Konami released PT for the Playstation 4. As many of you know, PT stands for Playable Teaser of the new Silent Hills game from Hideo Kojima. It was a strange little demo that some people loved, some people hated, and hardly anyone could figure out how to beat. Whether you like PT or not though, I think it has unlocked something incredibly remarkable for the future of video game entertainment.

Kojima, through rather conventional ways, has managed to push the thinking behind how to play a video game into a new space. And it’s quite cool.

The innovative thing about PT is that by design it was created to embrace social media and the communal corners of the Internet in order to broaden gamers understanding and interest in what PT is. Kojima and his team gave us no understanding of what we were getting ourselves into when we began playing, and the intrigue of that haunted and oppressive house pulled us by a string as we struggled to solve seemingly impossible challenges.

SH-PT_Hallway-2B_medium

That’s where the genius of this game comes in. PT contains clues and pieces of a puzzle that are so grand by design that the game encourages people across the globe to work together via the Internet to translate bilingual texts, decode messages and experiment with all aspects of the game in order to communally ‘solve’ it. In fact I played through PT with Mega Dad John watching my Twitch feed from his house as he helped me along by searching for clues on his iPad. This is what live-streaming was made for, and a lot of people played PT this way (so much so that a lot of people believe streaming the game was key to beating it). PT broke through the fourth wall and created the biggest game of co-op that there ever was.

I can’t begin to say how much I appreciate innovation like that in video games today. When a lot of the games we play are retreads or sequels, to see something like this come along is a breath of fresh air. It makes me excited for what people can do going forward. PT is by no means perfect, and the frustration of not being able to solve it’s puzzles can sometimes kill the sense of fear and tension. But it was without a doubt unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in a game before. Oh yeah, and it was all free.

Unfortunately, now the new car smell is gone. Most people have played through the scares and have solved the riddles. If you load PT today and try to solve it you won’t be treated to the feeling of being a part of the global chase to solve it’s riddles as you go. Because the answers are already in the books. But for that week after it’s release, there was an electricity in the air for anyone swept up by PT, and that’s something those of us who were a part of it won’t soon forget.

So the question now is ‘where do we go from here’? Can the developers bottle that lightning for Silent Hills’ proper release? Should they even try? Maybe there’s a new twist on the formula that they’ve thought of that will dwarf PT‘s experience that none of us will see coming. We certainly didn’t expect this, right?

Either way, it just makes me excited that I can still be surprised by games. I think what Kojima has done begs for developers to start talking about what they can do to existing video game formulas to inject revolutionary ways for gamers to interact and experience them. Nothing about PT is radical by design, but with some innovative thinking Kojima was able to create a very memorable and unique play experience.

We have an industry in which year after year companies like Ubisoft and Activision continue to churn out carbon copy sequels after sequel of the same old thing with just a tiny twist. With PT, Kojima gave us a freaking tornado. And that’s so cool. Don’t you think?


You can watch the Mega Dads Minute Review of PT below!

 

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