Nobody appreciates Toby.
By Toby McCasker on October 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm
If you are an awesome bass player with sick hair like I am, you will know that sometimes people do not understand this instrument very well. “I can’t hear it,” they say, “what is even the point of you?” And so sometimes I will record a hella balls-to-the-wall track, and I will play it for them once with the bass, and then again without it. They will nod to themselves then, sadly. “That didn’t feel as good the second time.”
It is not so much about being heard as dutifully mothering the rest of the band so they are the best they can be. It is always that intangible heartbeat that maketh the rad, the little things. Video games are no different.
No matter how physically big something gets, if it’s going to be great, it will be built on a foundation of those little things. This is the sole reason I weathered the non-sensical and derivative (even plagiarised then bastardised) idiocy of Hideo Kojima and love, love, loved Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: the ice cubes. Do you remember the ice cubes? Maybe you never even got to meet them.
Deck A, Crew’s Lounge. There’s an ice bucket by the sink. It is the only one in the game. The only one. Knock it over and all its little cubes will spill out everywhere. They are the only ones in the game. Watch them and they will all slowly start to melt in individual ways. If there isn’t, there should def be an “Ice Cube Physics Programmer” credit for the cube master responsible at the end.
That extra mile made that game for me, because first-person perspective be dayamned gurl, there is nothing so absorbing as the infinite and minor and easily missed possibilities of reality. Never has this been more clearly illustrated to me as of late than by Grand Theft Auto V, though it took this guy and this video to lift this appreciation from my subconsciousness and make it real:
We’ve all noticed some of these while we do our automative burgling thing, as some of them are not hard to miss. Others are totally easy to miss, but they are there, and they are constant. Maybe we noticed them, but the love invested in their minutiae vanished in your rearview mirror before you could see it. You are regularly burning around at speeds exceeding Undeniable Badassery, after all. Love is every-wheeere.
That quality as a whole is the point, is this game’s bass player: Just about everything has some kind of way about it. It almost seems a shame sometimes that GTAV is so focused on absolute destruction when it could probably be the goddamned Matrix.
These presumably thankless and tiny design chores are what it really takes to make big into best. Imagine the kind of tending that went into Skyrim. It’s what Hollywood-mentality titles like CoD et al fail to realise, why they are all short-term flash and no long-term smash: You need a bass player in your band. You might not know notice him or her all the time when they’re there, but days, weeks, months, years later, you’ll still be sitting in front of something like GTAV and you’ll have this lightbulb moment, like, “Damn. I just noticed that thing. This game, man.”