In this rush to explore interactivity, we don’t often stop to analyze what specifically counts as “good” interactivity. Just as text and film have genre conventions like grammar and camera angles that make them awkward if broken, games have their own literacy that, if broken, can ruin both the interactivity and the narrative.

“Heavy Rain”, one of the most hyped games for the PS3, is touted as an interactive narrative, however the “interactive” side of that narrative appears to be nothing more than a series of quick time events (QTE) where a button will flash on the screen and the player will be asked to press that button or suffer a penalty.

This type of gameplay has long been seen as lazy, uninspired and unfair as players often do not have enough time to look down to find the button and press it (gamers often do not think of buttons by their names but by their locations on the controller). This coupled with the penalties for failing a QTE make the experience in Heavy Rain a frustration one, as demonstrated by this Lets Play by French game critic Benzaie.

Its a disappointment since the game promised a storyline where characters could die with consequences to the plot as opposed to game over screens, and real changes in the story based on the decisions and successes of the player. Its good to see that developers are trying to incorporate narrative and interactivity in more meaningful ways, but these first steps are awkward at best.

Note: Sorry this is a bit late; this post did not want to be made.

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