Shattering the Fourth Wall

When I purchased my PS4 one feature I was interested in but didn’t think much of was it’s ability to connect with social media. I think it fell into, not until you try it does it make sense. I now find myself sharing many screenshots and videos from my games. Does this break the fourth wall separating reality from the game?

At the very least it brings a different element to the game. Humans are by nature competitive and a bit boastful. Bragging about our triumphs in games has been a long part of the fun. Back in the old days it was entering your initials on a high score screen. Follow that in a few years with bragging in school about your exploits in the Mushroom Kingdom. The Xbox 360 kicked this feature up a notch with the use of achievements and a gamer score tied to your ID.

Now in this generation we have a constantly connected pipe to your friends’ news feeds via Facebook, Twitter or their computer screens via Twitch. With a button press I can share my screen, a video or broadcast my playing session. I would like an automated system but that would probably grow old as my friends news feeds become spammed with, “Vinny found a new item”, “Vinny leveled up”, “Vinny defeated a goblin”, “Vinny took a crap and feels better now”, well, you get the picture. Sharing, even bragging, about our success is just one more way to reward our time spent. Does it bring anything to the game itself?

To answer that you have to ask yourself what kind of gamer you are. Do you play for the adventure and challenges or do you like the competitive edge your prowess brings you? Either way I have never seen anyone at the arcade walk away from the machine when it was time to enter their initials. So if this isn’t busting through that fourth wall it is very close to hopping over the top of it.


~ by Vinny Alascia on September 30, 2014.