What is it called when a video game gives you a preview of all powers in the first level?
August 2, 2009 10:47 AM   Subscribe

VideoGameDesignFilter: What is it called when, in the first level or sequence of a game, the player is given all the available powers, only to have those powers taken away and rebuilt up?

I came across the term a long while ago and can't seem to find it again. Some examples of what I'm talking about- God of War 2, before Zeus takes your God powers, SW: The Force Unleashed, The Vadar Level, Prototype, a bunch of others...

Thanks!
posted by MostHolyPorcine to Technology (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
It sounds a bit like nerfing, but the intent seems different.
posted by shrabster at 11:00 AM on August 2, 2009


TVTropes suggests Bag of Spilling.
posted by permafrost at 11:09 AM on August 2, 2009


TVTropes suggests Bag of Spilling.

A Taste of Power seems to be a somewhat better match.
posted by effbot at 11:17 AM on August 2, 2009


A Taste Of Power: When starting a game, often the player starts out with an extremely powerful party or character, which can easily slaughter anything it comes across, playing through a short battle or dungeon. The player is in no real danger of losing at this point, but this incredible power never lasts long. Once the introductory segment is complete, the player switches to the real party, usually at level 1 with basic starter gear.
posted by wfrgms at 11:20 AM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've never heard it called a Taste of Power, but that's what it is -- a sequence designed as a hook to jump-start the entire experience by giving you a taste of what the end game will be like.

But I've heard the same thing called an opening gambit, a teaser, God Mode start and a cold opening.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:57 AM on August 2, 2009


baiting
posted by Max Power at 2:16 PM on August 2, 2009


god help me, "Need for Speed: Most Wanted" starts out this way. Really awesome car you lose immediately after the opening sequence.
posted by cosmicbandito at 3:33 PM on August 2, 2009


"Need for Speed: Most Wanted" starts out this way

Yeah, that's listed on the page we've been linking to. Together with all the games MHP mentioned, and a few dozen other games that starts out this way.
posted by effbot at 3:37 PM on August 2, 2009


A-ha! The classical phrase for this is in media res.

In medias res, also medias in res (Latin for "into the midst of affairs (lit. into mid-affairs)"), refers to a literary and artistic technique where the narrative starts in the middle of the story instead of from its beginning (ab ovo or ab initio). The characters, setting, and conflict are often introduced through a series of flashbacks or through characters relating past events to each other.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:19 PM on August 2, 2009


the narrative starts in the middle of the story instead of from its beginning

That's not what's being described here, though.
posted by effbot at 4:22 PM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


"being mean"
posted by Mikey-San at 5:26 PM on August 2, 2009


In media res isn't the right term, though these kinds of beginnings often are.

I call it a Lufia start. Taste of Power is more general and obvious, though.
posted by fleacircus at 5:35 PM on August 2, 2009


Though, in the more narrow case where the game takes YOUR powers away for some contrived reason rather than just generally letting you play with some of the big toys early on, the term that occurs to me is "ren00bification".
posted by fleacircus at 5:43 PM on August 2, 2009


Since there really isn't an established one, you get to make up your own term for this.

I do endorse A Taste of Power, because that is a good choice. But don't think it's in any way "official". The TVTropes folks are clever, not authoritative.
posted by rokusan at 6:29 PM on August 2, 2009


I just call it the Metroid Effect.
posted by cj_ at 7:32 PM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Metroid Effect" gets my vote.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:24 PM on August 2, 2009


I think with regards to Prototype, in medias res is quite appropriate because that scene is actually well into the story, then they take you back in time to when you're just starting out, just discovering what your powers are. Starting in the middle is an old storytelling technique that I'm charmed has spawned a corollary in videogames. I prefer the "Taste of Power" term myself.
posted by Sully at 3:22 AM on August 3, 2009


This is not in media res.

Some of the examples are both in media res and also this other thing, which could be confusing, I suppose. But they're not the same thing at all.
posted by rokusan at 5:03 AM on August 3, 2009


Prototype specifically is in media res, but A Taste of Power works pretty well for the rest, I suppose. Really, though, I usually just call it bullshit.
posted by owtytrof at 8:21 AM on August 3, 2009


It is generally A Taste of Power, but when referring to video games I prefer Metroid Effect, because that series has a history of teasing players with powers. Fuckers.
posted by graventy at 8:50 PM on August 3, 2009


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