Sunday, April 25, 2010

4. The Trials of Modern Espionage

Based off of Tom Clancy's "Splinter Cell: Conviction" which chronicles the attempts by Sam Fisher to discover the identity of his daughter's murderer while unraveling why so many different important factions are so interested in the situation.
Because Sam is no longer part of "the system" in this game, the in-game instructions can't be given via headset or walkie-talkie (who would be giving Sam instructions if he's acting on his own with no government authority?).  The developers came up with an interesting way around this however. In-game instructions such as "infiltrate the mansion," for example, are now shown on walls, doorways, bar-counters etc.

The user can see these instructions, obviously, as they are intended as a means to guide the player through the game.  But can Sam see them?
Perhaps Sam is going crazy and we, as the players, are allowed to see the manifestations of this insanity first-hand, through Sam's eyes.  If we follow this line of thought, it's possible that these "instructions" are nothing more than Sam's own mental projections - as though he were talking to himself in the form of giant, wall-projections.
As Josh Harmon, editor of QuarterDown ( put it: "What if those [instructions] aren't tools to help guide the player, but rather a sort of internal monologue Sam Fisher is having, bordering on schizoid psychosis.  Like all great psychology, it manifests in the form of a gay joke."
From there it was simply a question of what the wall would be telling a progressively drunker Sam Fisher to do - in other words what a drunken Sam would be telling himself to do.

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