#1 Posted by Demoskinos (14562 posts) -

So many games have fourth wall or self referential moments in them. The Metal Gear Solid series is up there as probably one of the biggest examples of this. With Otocon constantly telling snake to "press the action button" or making witty comments in MGS 4 about how there doesn't need to be a disc swap because the game is on a blu-ray. So, do you enjoy these moments or do you feel that they break the fiction for you too much that it ruins your investment in the world and characters? I'm not sure they were trying to break the 4th wall exactly but the end of Enslaved really bummed me out because of what happened and well... "who" showed up. I am though a fan of moments like this No More Heroes has one of my favorite bits of all time at the rank 1 fight.

Then there is stuff like Matt Hazzard. Where its trying to very blatantly be that and it becomes so deliberate that it just ends up being awful and not even in a kitschy sort of way that you can appreciate. Yeah.... thats HIL-AR-IOUS that all the enemies are card-board cutouts! ITS JUST LIKE DOOM YOU GUYZ. So, do you guys always need your games to be SRS bizznez or do you enjoy silly 4th wall breaking stuff as long as its done well?

#2 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

Like all things, it can be done well, or it can be done poorly.

If done well, it'll create a lasting moment in your mind and make you think back fondly on the game.

If you do it well, you look like a post-modern twat.

#3 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Depends on how well it's done and the kind of game it's in. Some games can get away with it, and it's usually because the games have a lot of humor and don't take themselves terribly seriously.

But then, Boston Legal broke the 4th wall by SAYING THEY WERE BREAKING IT and that was pretty great, so it's possible to do it elsewhere, I guess?

#4 Posted by probablytuna (3539 posts) -

I like it, sure.

#5 Posted by MiniPato (2721 posts) -

Everything in moderation I say.

Metal Gear Solid is a series that does it a ton, but it works because at the same time, it's taking itself very seriously. So when it does break the 4th wall, it's a refreshing break from the seriousness.

In a game that is supposed to be humorous, it really depends on the writing. It can come off as way too "hey look we're self aware!"

#6 Posted by Vinny_Says (5686 posts) -

What was that game where they knew the whole time they were in a video game?

Was it the Simpsons game from EA? Some of the jokes were alright :)

#7 Posted by Stonyman65 (2591 posts) -

If they do it right, it's awesome. If it's half assed like a "hey we're doing this, cool right?", then it's horrible.

Kojima got it right with the Psycho Mantis fight in MGS.

#8 Posted by Nightriff (4915 posts) -

Max Payne and Eternal Darkness pulled it off the best out of any game ever. Shockingly they are in my top 3 favorite games ever....interesting coincidence

#9 Posted by awesomeusername (4154 posts) -

I don't have a problem with it. I find it funny like in MGS4 with the disc swap comment but that No More Heroes video is kind of overkill just because it's so dumb.

#10 Posted by golguin (3843 posts) -

The Asura's Wrath DCL did it and it was pretty amazing. I would link to it, but it's a super spoiler and probably one of the best moments in recent video games.

#11 Posted by StarvingGamer (8000 posts) -

I like it when it's good.

#12 Posted by BeachThunder (11699 posts) -

If we're talking about characters telling the player to press a certain button or explaining game mechanics, then there's always a better way of conveying that information without ruining the immersion.

If it's for humour's sake, then it's seldom clever or funny; instead it usually comes across as embarrassingly uninspired.

The worst example for me is Fallout 2, the sheer amount of 4th-wall breaking humour made it almost impossible to care about the game's story. It just felt like nobody that worked on the game gave a shit about the game's fiction.

#13 Posted by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

When it's good, it's good. When it's not, it's cringe worthy.

#14 Posted by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

@Joeyoe31 said:

When it's good, it's good. When it's not, it's cringe worthy.
#15 Posted by MiniPato (2721 posts) -

Hell, breaking the 4th wall doesn't even have to be for humor. At the end of MGS4 when it goes through all the different styles of health bars throughout the MGS series, it was a genuinely awesome moment. Or just freak you out like at the end of MGS2.

#16 Posted by Hunter5024 (5543 posts) -

4th wall breaking should be reserved for people who know how to do it, and even they shouldnt make a habit of it. It works better for comedy, but even then it can go really wrong. Basically it's only funny or interesting when it's surprising, so Matt Hazzard would be a good example of an idiotic implementation of the idea because it's the games entire premise.

#17 Posted by atomic_dumpling (2458 posts) -

@BeachThunder said:

If we're talking about characters telling the player to press a certain button or explaining game mechanics, then there's always a better way of conveying that information without ruining the immersion.

I don't remember which game it was, but there was one that did it like this: "The ancient book says: 'the hero shall press the A button to jump'. I have no idea what any of that means". I thought that was okay.

#18 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

The Simpsons, Conkers Bad Fur Day, Max Payne 2 : Good examples.

Max Hazzard : Bad bad bad.

#19 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8698 posts) -

"Double A, you must, force jump, you shall."
 
Yeah, no thanks.
I can't remember an example of where it happened so...probably never saw it done well.
Or I'm getting old.

#20 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7613 posts) -

@BeachThunder said:

If we're talking about characters telling the player to press a certain button or explaining game mechanics, then there's always a better way of conveying that information without ruining the immersion.

If it's for humour's sake, then it's seldom clever or funny; instead it usually comes across as embarrassingly uninspired.

The worst example for me is Fallout 2, the sheer amount of 4th-wall breaking humour made it almost impossible to care about the game's story. It just felt like nobody that worked on the game gave a shit about the game's fiction.

Metal Gear Solid has always done it well. Fallout 2 is the perfect example of doing it poorly.

I was very happy that they made "wild wasteland" a perk in New Vegas. It let you see the stupid crap, if you wanted it, but let you avoid it all otherwise.

#21 Posted by Ninja_Welshman (479 posts) -

Loved it in the Metal Gear series. Code on the box, Phycho Mantis etc... Don't think it works for every game though.

#22 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

I enjoy fourth wall humor. You have to commit to it though, otherwise it feels out of place. I don't see it too often in games. Conker had a couple good jokes. Metal Gear Solid games are a bundle of bananas so it works there.

That show, and that episode in particular takes it a extreme some may not like. I personally love it.

#23 Posted by Insectecutor (1177 posts) -

I really don't like it, it's been done to death. I like when the idea of it is lampooned like in Portal 2 where Wheatly asks you to say "apple".

#24 Posted by LikeaSsur (1495 posts) -

I always appreciate a good 4th wall joke. But like everyone said, they have to fully commit to the joke. No throwaway line, I want somebody to respond to it as well. Bonus points if they point out a super common trope in the genre (such as the line in Sonic Generations regarding where Sonic keeps all those rings he collects).

Online
#25 Edited by BaneFireLord (2909 posts) -

I like it, but I definitely prefer subtlety over "WOOHOO! LOOK HOW CLEVER WE ARE!" stuff. For instance, a brief scene in Sherlock Season 2 has Moriarty casually blowing away the letters of a text message superimposed over the screen.  The Batman Arkham Asylum final Scarecrow encounter lead in is another example. That kind of breaking is intelligent and fun. On the other hand, stuff like the Deadpool game marketing campaign are far too bombastic and in your face to come off as anything more than shitty gimmicks.

#26 Posted by FunExplosions (5407 posts) -

It has never not been stupid. How can it be funny? It's the same damn joke over and over. Same way the Willhelm scream always makes me wonder what lonely sound technician actually thought it would be 'neat' or 'in-crowd-like' to put in.

#27 Posted by Brodehouse (9587 posts) -

I don't mind characters spelling out tutorials in words, but I find most fourth wall breaking to be lazy. Deadpool in particular is extremely lazy.

I prefer authorial in-fiction response to public reaction. Like how in the first episode of the Walking Dead a character doesn't know how to use batteries, and then in the second episode they give you the option to tease her about it. That seems like it was included because of the public reaction of What An Idiot.

Most times though, even that goes too far. I liked the first 'calibrations' joke in Mass Effect 3, the next five weren't so good. Or like Jeff said that he feels Chie has been done a disservice by making her constantly junksick for meat in P4A.

So yeah, it's a fine to walk. If Gears poked fun at Marcus putting his giant fucking finger up to his ear, I'd be in. If they did it again and again and again it would lose its charm.

#28 Posted by ShrimpDino (97 posts) -

I think Breaking The 4th Wall jokes are very funny XD

#29 Posted by DillonWerner (1522 posts) -
#30 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8061 posts) -

It use to be cool but its overdone now.

#31 Posted by mordukai (7133 posts) -

Just like humor, if done well then it's a blast. My most memorable 4th wall breaking is actually not from a video game but from a book. It was when I was reading Mister B. Gone. Granted it's not one of Clive Barker's finest writing but the use of "breaking the 4th wall" was a blast.

#32 Posted by Demoskinos (14562 posts) -
@Brodehouse I think Deadpool is fun. Much in the same way SaintsRow 3 revels in the fact that it is a videogame deadpool to me is just reveling that it is a comic. If the tone is set early on that there is going to be a goofy bent to something then I think stuff like that works. At least IMO.
#33 Posted by haffy (673 posts) -

I usually find them lazy and shit. Kind of reminds me of jump scares in horror films.

#34 Posted by Hunter5024 (5543 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan Excel Saga is great. They went so beyond the threshold of ridiculousness that 4th wall breaking stopped being stupid and started being funny again.

#35 Posted by medacris (643 posts) -

I agree that only more talented writers should try it- I think it's definitely funny, but can easily become old hat because it's been done so much.

#36 Posted by TheFreeMan (2712 posts) -

Really depends on the tone of the game and how it's done. I liked it in the Mario and Luigi games. That was fun, because the whole series was goofy and it didn't come across as "lookit how smaaaaaaart we are!" or "lookit how crazy we are!", it was just kinda silly. One-off jokes are okay, too, like the "This never happened to the other fellow" goof in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

I have a really hard time appreciating it with stuff like Deadpool, or, say, Funny Games, though.