Rather than conjuring up some fitting metaphor or world-building tool, 'breaking the fourth wall' is an oft-used technique where a developer chooses to speak the gamer directly.
Breaking the suspension of disbelief in a game can be dangerous. In the ever increasingly fantastical worlds that we visit on our consoles and PCs, it's important that we believe they can exist for us to care. Yet, ironically, crossing over the fourth wall is far safer due to its deliberate intention, than an unforgivable plot hole or out of place item.
As the player so often knows more than the protagonist they control, the technique is sometimes used to emphasise a political message, or expand a given meaning beyond the immediate obvious. And most of the time, a la Deadpool, it is used to convey the humorous or the absurd.
2016 has seen the release of some incredible titles, from original indie puzzlers to the return of fan-favourite franchises. Here are out favourites that showed us the fourth wall, and smashed it down before our very eyes.
10. Ratchet & Clank - The Next Reboot
2016 saw the return of charming Ratchet and his sidekick, multi-tool partner, Clank. Lovingly recreated and reimagined in HD for the PS4, the makeover was well received by long time fans and newcomers alike, earning a whopping 85 rating on Metacritic, with user reviews to match.
Along with our blaster wielding heroes, our favourite handyman returned. Whilst simply known as The Plumber, this jack-of-all-trades has appeared throughout games in the series fixing all sorts of mechanical problems, often whilst offering rather unusual advice at the same time.
With mentions of previous encounters that only he can remember, and an uncanny ability to predict the future, The Plumber's omnipresence is hinted at time and again - but it is his tendency to break the fourth wall that stands him out as one of the most humorous repeat characters, when, on parting ways with our heroes, he waves and throws out the casual remark,
"See you in the next reboot."