Ask any gamer why we love to play, and sooner or later we're bound to start philosophizing about “interactivity.” Games, you see, are the only kind of entertainment that let the audience influence the characters' actions. You can't stand up in a movie theatre and tell the actors who to shoot next; how well would it work if comic-book writers asked readers to write in to determine characters' fates?
Above: Imagine the interacting you could do with that lot!
But plenty of games aren't that interactive at all. Some are designed restrictively; others offer chin-scratchy commentary on the nature of gameplay; some were just made by folks who like cutscenes a bit too much. For whatever reason, plenty of software is less “game” and more “TV show with occasional button presses.” Interactive entertainment? Here are a few games that forget at least half that promise.
7. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
The game: Every once in a while, Capcom graces us with a new IP to add to their stable of zombies, zombie-killers, zombie-photographers, sociopathic street-brawlers, and Mega Man. A particularly novel addition has been the Ace Attorney series. At last, we could subject ourselves to the fun of negotiating the legal system, without the hassles of dealing with a lawyer's income or lifestyle.
What could you do? “You can't handle the truth!” “This whole courtroom's out of order!” “Yes they deserve to die, and I hope they burn in hell!” “Denny Crane!” Just a few of the legal-eagle catchphrases you were free to yell into the DS' microphone, enabling you to feel exactly how a real law-talkin' guy feels when he's legalin' it up.
Above (top): Dynamic legal action! Above (bottom): Streamlined user interface!
What did the game do for you? Told quirky courtroom tales while you were hollering at your console and occasionally tapping the screen to move the story along. It's not that the game's bereft of things to do; there just tends to be one right way to pass a level, and once you've found that way, no real reason to go back. Unless you've got some choice new John Grisham quotes to yell, of course.
Above: Looks like a thought just hit him... fatally. [Don sunglasses, cue title sequence]
Seriously, this is less interactive than... Finding a reason to go to court, for reals. Have you been to court? Shit's better than Halo.
You may think this looks a lot like us advocating illegal activities, but you could not be more wrong. Please restrict yourself to confessing to other peoples' pre-existing crimes.