As you carve through another platoon of cybernetic super-soldiers like butter, you stop to take a look at your character’s health. Oh - looks like you got through it by the skin of your teeth - only 1HP left! And you only had 1HP for those last two whole minutes of the fight!
What a Total Genius Badass you must be.
But this might come as a little bit of a surprise, my friend - sometimes, it’s not just your sick gaming skills that saw you through that latest gauntlet. Put your pride on standby, because you’ve been being helped this whole time by your best friend... the game designer!
There are a number of subtle techniques game designers use to give you the illusion that you’re this unstoppable force of nature, when in reality you’ve had a secret set of metaphorical bike stabilisers on the whole time, stopping you from falling over and grazing your equally-metaphorical knees.
So, here are a few of the super-secret ways video games make you feel like a badass - because, as the fedora-wearing meme ninja says... “you’re good... but you ain’t that good“.
10. Input Buffering (Giving You Benefit Of The Doubt)
If you’ve played any prominent fighting game, you might’ve heard of the term “input buffering” (no, it has nothing to do with using a cloth to scrub off the Wotsit dust from a friend handling your neon yellow joycons).
Input buffering is effectively when you queue up another input before the previous one has registered. In Street Fighter 4, for example, if you want to punch, then immediately dragon punch, you could input the dragon punch command before Ryu’s first animation has finished, and he will automatically dragon punch immediately after.
Think of it like... inputting moves faster than the game can play them. You speed demon, you.
However, in a lot of games, this kind of rapid input can sometimes lead to sloppy execution - but fear not! Some very kind developers make up for this by allowing “close enough” inputs to queue up as valid buffered inputs.
So, even if you don’t pull off the exact motion you wanted to, the game’ll say, “oh, hey, at least you tried”, and award you a buffered, queued attack anyway.
You know what this means? You can NEVER blame your controller again, you monster.