Games that interrupt the first three seconds of play with another movie

You know those games that start with a long intro movie, and then thrust you into an interactive situation, and then kick you right back into another movie? I’m always baffled at this. The best example I can think of right now is Beyond Good and Evil. There’s a movie about aliens invading, disturbing the heroine’s idyllic existence. Suddenly you’re fighting an alien, but all you’ve got to do is hit attack a few times, and immediately another movie interrupts.

I’m not sure I can think of another example right away, but I know I’ve played them. Maybe Psychonauts was like this. You know, you lean forward, ready for your first steps into this world, and before you know it you’re blinking in disbelief, and slowly putting down the controller on the ottoman, watching another movie.

It’s not just that it’s annoying to be sidelined like that, it’s that the first moment of gameplay is like the tonic of a song, the reference point for everything that comes after. The first moment of Super Mario Bros. is taking a step to the right. The first moment of Half-Life is craning your neck around to take in the environment. It’s the most basic action you perform, the smallest building block of gameplay. From that, the complex structure of gameplay develops, providing the medium for your efforts, teaching you how to think about your actions and how the world responds.

I’m amazed how many games make your first task “run into the house!” or “go talk to her!” and after that’s completed, immediately run another cut scene. I guess someone must have said “this cut scene is too long! Break it up somehow!” But the result is even worse than an excessively long movie (as though that were the only alternative) because it botches the first moment of gameplay. The first moment matters!

Know what I’m saying?

Songs have tonic?

And here I thought that was just what really old people called sodas.

I disagree, since I thought the BG&E opening is one of the best in gaming. You get an intro which shows you going from peace to chaos, the game thrusts you right into the middle of the action (and I hadn’t read the manual at this point), and then after that shock to your system, it gives you a little break while to pulls back the pace. Brilliantly done IMO.

You’ve got more of a case with your second example, but I can’t say as it’s something which has ever caught my attention.

I was making a metaphor, suggesting that the first moment of gameplay is the sweetest, like Pepsi.

Delicious tonic.

Quitch: If I remember correctly, you whack these monsters a few times before one of them grabs you and pulls you underground. That’s the second movie scene. Then you play some more. After that whole incident passes, the pace slows. But I’m talking about that first moment. Sure, getting grabbed by a monster is a good time to run a movie scene, since it corresponds with your disempowerment, but at that earliest stage of the game, it didn’t seem to work very well because your abilities aren’t even defined yet. So taking away your ability to act doesn’t have much meaning, it just interrupts involvement into the game as far as I’m concerned.

I disagree since that’s supposed to be the moment of calm, hence the fade and cutscene, but it isn’t, hence the content of the scene.

the beginning of beyond good and evil isn’t that bad since it only happened a couple times.

but the max payne 2 beginning is cut scene interruption hell. at one point i was sighing in frustration since i was almost literally taking two steps before another cut scene came in. yes, max, you’re miserable and something bad happened to you involving a mysterious woman. we freaking get it.

i enjoyed the rest of the cut scenes.

Don’t worry. This will be replaced by God of War style cineractives in future games.

I vote developers do away with cutscenes altogether. They are the bane of all videogames everywhere and are useless in every way.

Except when Rustmonkey does them. Then they’re freaking awesome.

Except, no.

Songs have tonic?

Dominants too!

Half-Life is the only game to do cut scenes right; they’re just stuff happening
in the background while you can still move about, so you don’t feel like you’re
losing control at all.

Except those aren’t cutscenes. If the player is free to move about normally while something neat is happening, it’s a scripted sequence. If control is taken away, it’s a cutscene. And if control is taken away but you’re allowed limited input, it’s Dragon’s Lair.


All you cutscene haters have obviously never played Anachronox. Or else you wouldn’t hate all cutscenes.

The cutscenes in Amped 3 were really good. Still, Squeaky is more right than anyone on this board besides me has ever been.

I couldn’t disagree more. It’s rare that I see better methods for telling story, and outside Half-Life 2, nothing is springing to mind.

If I want a story I read a book, where the writers tales aren’t confined to the capabilities of the latest video hardware or the state of AI.
I play games to interact. For me, the story is irrelevant. YMMV.

Getting new dances and appear-scenes as well as the small “congratulations! You now have XX Achievements”-movies seem to be the whole point of Viva Pinata to my kids.
My two year old jump up and down singing “Monkeydance! Monkeydance! Monkeydance!” whenever we start the game now.

I like a well done cutscene (as well as proper cheasy ones - Phantasmagoria, I’m looking at you!)

Get out.