On Quiet Moments (Day 30)

This is going to be a quick post on a very broad subject, so be aware that I’m potentially missing out on a whole lot of information. Hopefully you enjoy the read anyway!

By “quiet moments”, I’m referring to the moments where nothing noteworthy is happening. Players are moving between areas or catching their breath after something dramatic. Whatever it is, these moments are usually my favourites.

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Battlefield is the series that comes to mind when I think of these – especially the older titles. My favourite moments in Bad Company 2 were simply seeing the destruction off in the distance as I ran to the next point, or just sneaking around with my friends. Taking in the atmosphere and recognising that things are developing without your input is a powerful feeling that I think many games are afraid of.

Some developers seem to feel that players should always be busy and always be pursuing something, and in many ways that’s a perfectly fair assessment. There’s a very real risk of boredom from encouraging these quiet moments – DayZ had some of my favourite gaming memories, but it also had hours of walking in a straight line, for example.

Final Fantasy XV encouraged these moments, with long uneventful drives between locations taking up a solid portion of the games running time. Those moments stuck with me more than most of the plot and certainly more than any side story.

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I don’t know what the secret to making these moments so compelling is. In FF:XV, it’s the characters banter and the beautiful world. In Battlefield, it’s the sense of presence, knowing you’re in a world that is extremely active and deadly with or without your presence – but also knowing that your presence (and lack of it) is making a difference in itself.

How do you feel? Are there any quiet moments that stick out for you, or games that do it particularly well? Let me know in the comments!

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