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Pop Quiz: What Does "QTE" Mean?

How meaningful is the hardcore-gaming vernacular to a mainstream audience? Does it belong on the back of boxes yet? Will it ever?

Over on MTV's Multiplayer blog, Stephen Totilo poses the question: Who the hell knows what a Quick Time Event is? His query results from Microsoft's use of the phrase as back-of-box marketing copy on the Ninja Blade retail package, shot of which I have included below. It looks a little out of place even to me, and I've been familiar with its usage in the gaming context since Shenmue coined the term more than eight years ago.

(Whether the inclusion of QTEs is actually a good reason to play a game is questionable, but that's beside the point.)

I direct Mr. Totilo and anyone else interested to our Quick Time Event wiki page as evidence that people do know about QTEs; enough people, at least, to fill out a wiki about them and identify 87 games (and counting) that contain them. As mentioned on that page, Quick Time Events have been around since the original Dragon's Lair hit arcades way back in the '80s. Come to think of it, that game was nothing but QTEs. And it wasn't very good. But who doesn't have fond memories of Dirk the Daring anyway?

Speaking of crappy QTE-based games, I'm going to nominate Time Traveler as the single worst use of Quick Time Events in history.

To be fair, there's probably not a ton of overlap between the kinds of people using Giant Bomb's database, and the kinds of people who walk into retail stores and make purchasing decisions based on the features listed on game boxes. Considering Ninja Blade's other selling points are the slightly strange "Ninja Vision" and the utterly boilerplate "Extreme Action," maybe this particular case speaks more to the game's dearth of bankable features than anything else.
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Posted by Brad
Over on MTV's Multiplayer blog, Stephen Totilo poses the question: Who the hell knows what a Quick Time Event is? His query results from Microsoft's use of the phrase as back-of-box marketing copy on the Ninja Blade retail package, shot of which I have included below. It looks a little out of place even to me, and I've been familiar with its usage in the gaming context since Shenmue coined the term more than eight years ago.

(Whether the inclusion of QTEs is actually a good reason to play a game is questionable, but that's beside the point.)

I direct Mr. Totilo and anyone else interested to our Quick Time Event wiki page as evidence that people do know about QTEs; enough people, at least, to fill out a wiki about them and identify 87 games (and counting) that contain them. As mentioned on that page, Quick Time Events have been around since the original Dragon's Lair hit arcades way back in the '80s. Come to think of it, that game was nothing but QTEs. And it wasn't very good. But who doesn't have fond memories of Dirk the Daring anyway?

Speaking of crappy QTE-based games, I'm going to nominate Time Traveler as the single worst use of Quick Time Events in history.

To be fair, there's probably not a ton of overlap between the kinds of people using Giant Bomb's database, and the kinds of people who walk into retail stores and make purchasing decisions based on the features listed on game boxes. Considering Ninja Blade's other selling points are the slightly strange "Ninja Vision" and the utterly boilerplate "Extreme Action," maybe this particular case speaks more to the game's dearth of bankable features than anything else.
Posted by trophyhunter

quick time event

Edited by inkeiren

I really believe there are such things as fun QTEs. Used sparingly, of course.

I loved the QTEs in Dark Cloud. Dark Cloud only used them once in a while, and QTEs were not a tired concept back then.

Edit: Hardcore gaming lingo means nothing to the types who base their purchasing decisions on the back of the box.

Posted by cikame

i like quick time events

Posted by REDRUN

I don't know what to say about having QTE in my games. I just don't really appreciate those QTE, I haven't seen any that had me impressed. I disliked it in the force unleashed and the ninja blade demo. its more of an obsticle that distracts us from the actual game.

Posted by Eirikr

Qdoba is Totally Excellent

Posted by BinocularFever

I've never been a huge fan of QTE's. I used to enjoy the breaks in gameplay to watch a cutscene. But now, I have to ready, because at any moment, someone tries to drop a boulder on my head unless I press L and R repeatedly.

I think user triggered ones, such as executions in God of War, are pretty sweet. But way too many games are trying to throw them in nowadays. Or maybe I'm in the minority? I don't know.

Posted by Hamz

I think when a game has to resort to advertising the inclusion of QTE's then something isn't right with the game. It is lacking features.

That being said I'm not too bothered by QTE's like most people are. I guess I don't see the big issue with them?

Posted by Beechbone

Ninja Blade has some pretty lame QTEs.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

I think once you bottle up a game mechanic in a term like "quick time events" it's bound to be reduced to this sort of modular, monotonic thing that no one feels brave enough to change.  These button presses don't HAVE to be so restrictive, and can actually add to gameplay if you're in the middle of tackling an enemy and you need to punch it in the ribs.  It breaks things up nicely and makes it less boring combos.

Too often, though, people seem to think they're liked for their own sake just because they happen to be in popular games (read: god of war).  Bad, bad, bad. 

They can still be fun.  I think that Ninja Blade was a bit unforgiving in its timing, from the way poor Ryan had keep repeating stuff, though.

Posted by Shadow

MGS 4 had massive quicktime events.  They were super forgiving too.  If you didn't get it right, you just don't see those random flashes slightly relating to the situation.

Edited by erinfizz

I just read the sentence from the back of the box to someone. He completely interpreted that to mean "having to do with Apple Quicktime movies." This is a guy who has played plenty of games with QTEs like God of War....so there you go.

Posted by LiveOrDie1212

QTE's are everywhere these days...even in real life.

Posted by TheGreatGuero

Any respectable gamer knows what a QTE is and is probably annoyed by the fact that they're now in so many freaking games.

Posted by SmugDarkLoser

liked them in shenmue

Edited by Shayo

If certain game developers decide to implement QTE into their game, then the QTE should be used wisely and should be predictable with certain sequences. A fine example can be found with the God of War franchise, with finishing off bosses and certain enemies. Their execution gives you not only the cinematic sequence to the end of a boss battle, but also give you the feel that you're really finishing off the dude.

Random QTE are just a cheap gameplay addition.

Posted by Meltbrain

I really enjoyed the quick-time events in RE4, I think that was the first time I had played a game that used them promintently. There are probably more, and earlier ones I've played but I can't think of any.

Posted by LordAndrew

The kinds of people who read the back of game boxes are probably the type who are all "Whoa! Dude, this game's got Quick Time Events. I don't know what those are, but they sound awesome! Oh, and Ninja Vision. Radical!"

Posted by MKHavoc

After finishing the latest Prince of Persia game, I think I wouldn't mind not seeing another game with QTE's for a good while.

Posted by Jayzilla

i thought a QTE was something a cheesy guy called his girlfriend.

Posted by MattyFTM
LordAndrew said:
"The kinds of people who read the back of game boxes are probably the type who are all "Whoa! Dude, this game's got Quick Time Events. I don't know what those are, but they sound awesome! Oh, and Ninja Vision. Radical!""
Exactly. People hear things, they don't know what they are, but will still think it sounds awesome. I know buggar all about music speakers, but when I was buying speakers for my ipod, I saw one that had a SubWoofer, and I immediately favored that one over others, despite having no knowledge of what a SubWoofer was. I'm sure Quick Time Events have the same effect on people who have limited knowledge of video games.
Moderator
Posted by The_A_Drain

They worked well in dynamite cop (I think it was dynamite cop) and Shenmue, but in everything else they've just been annoying. Honestly, I don't think a lot of people actually know what they are, not the kinda of people who need to see a box to buy the game anyway.

Posted by inkeiren
Jayzilla said:
"i thought a QTE was something a cheesy guy called his girlfriend."
Hahaha.

Anyway,  I would like to bring up the idea of QTEs that are more than a simple pressing of one button. Indigo Prophecy had plenty of what could be called "QTEs" that were much more fun than simply pressing one button. I feel more could be done with QTEs, similar to Indigo Prophecy.
Posted by Echo

ExciteQTE: 1 game, 100 yen. Sure, I'll try it!

Posted by DukeTogo

QTE's, or Quick Time Events were a necessary evil in the days where pulling off some crazy action was not possible due to limitations of the technology.  By their very nature the are there to make the game easier, which is why now games are loaded with them.  Ninja Blade is basically Ninja Gaiden for pussies, with QTE to replace skill.

God of War and RE4 got away with them because they were sort of a forgotten mechanic that really only Shenmue had brought back recently, ang most people sadly never played that game anyway.  But games with them now are just shortcuts to either keep you from zoning out during a cinema or to make an exiting part of the game playable without having it be difficult.  QTE's are basically like adding a Wii mechanic to a game, and that's bad news.  I hope they become less of a fixture in games, or possibly be optional.

I just played through Prince of Persia and while I loved the game, it's reliance on QTE made the game so easy that it wasn't very fulfilling.  It's ironic that with all the advancements in games and controllers, it's like we're going back to the days of a stick and one botton with some of this shit.

Posted by I_smell

Well if you ask me: Who the hell even knows what a melee is?

Edited by Jimbo
"To be fair, there's probably not a ton of overlap between the kinds of people using Giant Bomb's database, and the kinds of people who walk into retail stores and make purchasing decisions based on the features listed on game boxes."

True story.  I can't remember the last time I looked at the back of a box, or the last time I walked into a game shop without knowing exactly what I was going to buy.  I often wonder who reads "OVER 12 LEVELS* OF SPLENDID SHOOTY FUN!" and decides that was just the right amount of levels they were looking for.  Extreme Action?? SOLD!

*'Over 12' always = 13.  Always.

Edit:  They should replace "Quick-Time Events!" with "That Thing Boba Fett Fell Into!" and a photo of any of the first 10 monsters from the quick look.


Posted by _Phara0h_

RE5 do it just fine, cause when it go's wrong you are left with a great death scene. It's also not over done like in other games.

Posted by Domstercool

Funny thing is I bought the game for the fact that it had lots of QTEs. I miss the days of Shenmue and its awesome QTE set pieces.

Ninja Blade as a game is pretty good too, enjoyable to anyone who isn't picky because it might seem like some Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry or God of War style rip off.

Posted by JoelTGM

Quick time events in games have never stood out to me as being fun or memorable. 

Posted by theMcNasty

@Jayzilla

     Yeah, the box really spoke to me.  Since I use my Ninja Vision under the sheets while providing some Extreme Action for my girlfriend during a Quick-Time Event.

...

:( No, I don't have a girlfriend.  For I, sir, am a gamer!

Edited by Nasar7

Shenmue is the only game that comes to mind that did QTEs well, those were awesome, Echo knows whats up.

Edited by TwoOneFive

i wonder if there is anyone out there who walks into a game store, looks on the back of a game box, reads "QUICK TIME EVENTS" and thinks "OH SHIT! I LOVE QUICK TIME EVENTS!, SOLD!"?

Posted by Scooper

Why would they put Quick Time Events on the box, I hate quick time events, I think they're annoying and dull. Well, not in the case of RE4 and 5 but that's because they did them sparingly and when you didn't expect.

Posted by HydraHam

its something that ninja blade overused

Posted by giyanks22

I think that QTE's work well in some games. I thought that was one of the upsides to TFU was that the quicktime events were very cinematic.

Posted by TheHBK

Haha, it is retarded to use QTEs as a selling point, but even more retarded is Mr Totilo who thinks QTEs are some obscure concept that most dont know about.

Posted by LiquidPrince

Quick time events are awesome if they are done well like God of War.

Posted by Fbomb

My life is a quick time event.... well more of a long-time event, really.

Posted by Diamond

Me and my friends all know what QTE are.  My friend and I joked about it yesterday while playing RE5 coop.

Not a big fan of QTE, they're fucking everywhere these days too.

Shenmue did them best because they had branching QTE, so if you messed up on an event or two, the entire event might change.

Posted by m1k3

if you think about it, it literally means "an event when time moves quickly" which doesn't coincide or mention button presses.

Posted by Media_Master

Too many

Posted by George1St

have'nt read all the comments but the quick look of ninja blade made it seem almost entireley QTE's IMO they should only be used in action cinematics to keep ya on yer toes

Posted by Doobit

I definately think that QTEs should be prominent on game boxes. Perhaps even on the front of the box, if the form of a big red warning sign.

Edited by Kraznor

My least favorite parts of Ninja Blade was actually everything that was NOT a QTE. I really like those. Resident Evil 5 needed more of them as well. Who can deny the awesomeness of the knife fight in Resident Evil 4? WHO?

Edited by Branthog

.

Posted by Artemis_D

QTE is cool, when its done well!  Can't wait for Heavy Rain! Woo!

Posted by CodeMcK

To be honest I've didn't really know that QTEs actually had a name, but besides that I'd rather just watch a cinematic than have an awesome action sequence ruined by a button showing up in the middle of the screen.

Posted by Crono

God Of War is about the only game that has made QTEs interesting for me.

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