Ker-thwack! As the molerat’s mind mulches under the pressure of skull and sledgehammer, primal hormones secrete themselves from innately familiar glands. In the absence of suitably challenging woolly mammals, games barely satiate my musk-soaked blood-lust, yet they serve to postpone calamity sufficiently until:
A splotch of blood – there, in the peripheries of my vision – as though my iris were a pane of lacklustre glazing. The tide of endorphins recedes, drawn back into their gooey crevasse like the ocean before a tsunami – a tsunami of rage. Through force of will I summon into existence an earthly element of pitch and mortar; it smells of vengeance. The gritty whinny of a grinding lense reverberates throughout the cathedral, and the prophets flee – they foresee the inevitable course of destruction. I hurl the dense essence of manifest fury through the computer screen. I visit Amazon and check their delivery tariffs. I order a fifteen-inch CRT and sweat and fume and regret for three days. The new monitor arrives. My bloodlust is satiated.
Those three wasted days of sobbing and forever-stained bedsheets could have been avoided, if only games developers could recognise that to view something from a first-person perspective is to view something from one’s eyes. They say the eyes are the window to the soul. They say a lot of things; on the telly, about my tally, and my presumed location. They talk a lot of twaddle. What I know is that the eyes are not akin to windows. Eyes can shift independently to their housing, they grow dry and scream for moist replenishment, and – here’s the source of the madness – if stained by a viscous red ooze, their owner will order a blink or two, ensuring the restoration of clear sight.
While I was cutting out the eyes of recently-deceased celebrities from issues of Heat and FHM, I discovered that there is a game called Alone In The Dark which has recently made an attempt at simulating the human peeper. My furtive clippings inform me that, for Eden Games – developers of AitD – the use of smoke-scorched or poison-seared eyes was not just an arbitrary game mechanic but also an expression of the lead character as a human worthy of empathy. AitD focused heavily on character-driven narrative, and as such rigidly defined the traits and nature of its protagonists, yet the other approach – providing a ‘blank slate’ character upon which the player can imprint their own desired identity – could also benefit from observation of the human anatomy; blinking and tearing (implemented in a sensible manner) are sympathetic actions, able to develop a connection between player and a slate with suspiciously human tendencies. Importantly, the operation of a virtual eye should not impinge on the player’s imprinting footsteps on the newly-laid slate’s wet cement, it should merely reinforce the player’s conjuration as a believable person.
Welcome to the blog, everyone. I hope you enjoy reading our words as much as I enjoy sneaking around your house while you’re at Tesco.