What you think of games where characters are talking to the player?

There’s some movies and games where main characters discuss with the player. Usually they discuss with the other characters in-game, but sometimes somebody discussed “outside of the game” (or movie) to the player.

I belong to the clan who thinks this really breaks the immersion, and thus I don’t like it when characters make side comments directly aimed to me as a player.

I’m playing Sword & Sworcery game on ipad and while the game otherwise is really interesting, I can’t but help getting slightly annoyed by certain moments.

What you think of this type of storytelling?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Guybrush did this in Monkey Island, and I thought he was funny.

  2. This is an age old discussion: when are characters allowed to break the fourth wall? I’m guessing that’s what you mean.

    Personally I think i’t great in a comedic/ironic setting, where one is pulled out of the immersive experience and gets to asses the situationen, from a different perspective. Ferris Bueller is a great example. Cronenberg does it in Videodrome and that works. Woody Allen does it all the time. Romero did it in Dawn of the Dead.

    According to the article below they do it in Sons of LIberty, although I don’t remember that.

    Read this one. http://www.giantbomb.com/breaking-the-fourth-wall/3015-138/

  3. I tend to like them quite a bit. It’s one of the few things that can make me feel immersed in the game as a player versus being immersed in the game reality as an spectator.

    Of course (as is the case with all mechanics) it has to be used by a good game for a good effect as it’s not a magic wand of making-me-immersed-and-liking-the-game.

  4. I could see it working really well in a game where you play the logistics/computer guy. In the story you’re literally someone sitting behind a computer, collecting information, and distributing it.

    With good writers, and the intention of “staying small” it could be pretty fun with a shorter story length.

  5. Actually I think it kind of depends on the game. As a narration I usually don’t think it breaks immersion. The Cave is a nice example.
    Used wisely it can work pretty well, like the character thinking to us but you can interpret it like talking to itself, Monkey Island/Broken Sword is a nice example. To sum up, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered something like this that really annoys me, but this “feature” has to be used with caution.
    Honestly more than this, I think a real problem with games these days are the immense pop-ups, explanations, tutorials. Just lemme play

  6. I can’t think of too many examples where this kind of storytelling is done. But I think in almost all of them it’s done for comedic value. Examples that are coming to mind seem to be mostly point and click adventure games, so S&S fits in there somewhat.

    In a game like Sam & Max where it’s lighthearted, it makes sense and is quite funny. But Telltale don’t do it in a game like The Walking Dead where the tone is more serious.

    I think it works if it’s in the right context.

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