The Pacing of Mad Max (2015)

Mad Max Game Credits

2015’s Mad Max had a lot going for it: A great sense of progression, powerful worldbuilding, and excellent car combat. However, there’s one aspect that fell flat on it’s face. Mad Max has a love/hate relationship with its narrative pacing. While it works hand in hand at first, the second half of the story is at odds with the core mechanics of exploration and vehicle upgrades.

Narrative pacing is tough to get right in an interactive medium. Developers can never be sure how or when players will start a quest. That’s why, for example, Fallout 3 is designed to be completed by any player at any level with any build at any time. Developers are left with two choices, artificially gate content or make every major encounter easy enough for every player. Mad Max went with the former option. Continue reading

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Joe Junkman #3: Junk in the Trunk

In those early years, before we established dog-tags as currency, the BLVD was crazy, seriously bananas! Even with The Judge in charge, even with the great wall of trash going up, it was a nasty, nasty place. When you showed up at someone’s doorstep with a pack full of junk, you had no idea if you were going to barter for merch or barter for your life. I got stuck up a few times; with a mug like mine how could I not. Still, I can proudly say I’m probably the only person in the Mo-Javi who hasn’t popped their murder cherry. That’s not to say I haven’t come close though.

It was after the Blacksmith’s guild was formed, but before the Guilds of Academia. I was carrying some wilted vegetables straight from Kass’ greenhouse, a guitar with a missing string, a bag of sand marked “Pure Cane Sugar,” a pair of fuzzy handcuffs, and some other household goods. Now see these were the old days. There weren’t armed guards on every street corner. If someone took your stuff, you went and took it back. If someone shot at you, you shot back and took their stuff. At that time, The Judge’s counselors were like old-time mafia enforcers, making sure the big scrap-metal wall was completed on schedule, or else. Capiche? Continue reading