The Importance of Discovery in Video Games

Ever since watching 'Rediscovering Mystery' by NoClip, the idea of discovering things on your own has been in the back of mind every time I play any game. It's the idea of finding something in the game on your own; whether it be secret areas, new attacks, items, etc. Discovering things in a game on your own to me is an experience that is rewarding. Whether its finding a secret room in Hyper Light Drifter, or a new way to dispatch of your enemies in Hitman, this aspect of discovery has played a role in varying degrees in all games. Even games that lead you by the hand have something in the game for you to discover. And so what I want to talk about is not you discovering how to jump in a game, but how to jump in a certain way that will lead you to a new area.

One part of the major easter egg in the map 'Moon' in Call of Duty Zombies.

One part of the major easter egg in the map 'Moon' in Call of Duty Zombies.

Believe it or not, discovery is in every game. Even in the most mainstream games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, there is something to discover. Call of Duty zombies is a perfect example of this. One thing that is popular with the Call of Duty zombies series is its easter eggs. If you do not know, an easter egg is a hidden feature inside a game. Whether its an item, an inside joke, or a picture; an easter egg is something that is many different things to many games and is a great example to show how discovery is important. But getting back to Call of Duty, every map in their zombies mode has some sort of easter egg. Dialogue, songs, and items litter the maps in the mode. But it is a much bigger easter egg that catches all of the attention of zombies. Most maps have a multi-step easter egg which requires one or multiple people to do different wacky tasks that eventually leads to a reward in the game. Whenever a new map for zombies is released, it is always fun watching the guide on how to do that easter egg and seeing the craziest ways on completing each step and thinking about the determination these people have on finding those easter egg steps. Even in games like Call of Duty where it seems everything is linear, discovery is something that affects that game positively.

But not everything you discover is an easter egg and is some crazy, multi-step, complicated set of actions. Hyper Light Drifter, for example, has these tiny little symbols on the ground that indicates that their is a secret room nearby. It may seem like an easter egg, but that is just part of the game. In this game, their are a ton of secret rooms, where as having just one secret room with something in that room that doesn't really belong in the game is an easter egg. But catching this strange faded symbol on the ground and running into walls until eventually I go through one is still a rewarding experience. Discovery is many different shapes and sizes in video games. Hyper Light Drifter is a game full of things and places to discover, and is a great game to play while thinking of discovery. The world is filled with background in the shape of body parts, hidden rooms, strange tablets with unreadable text on it, and more.

Even though I have completed this game, I still find rooms I have not visited in gameplay videos.

Even though I have completed this game, I still find rooms I have not visited in gameplay videos.

If you wanted to, you could dress up as a famous model and walk down a runway in Hitman.

If you wanted to, you could dress up as a famous model and walk down a runway in Hitman.

But discovery, like I said, takes on many different shapes and sizes. It's not limited to items, but to actions as well. And Hitman 2016 edition is a perfect game to show that discovery is larger than you think. Agent 47 is tasked in Hitman to kill a target or multiple targets and maybe even do an extra task. Despite some targets staying in a certain area, Hitman gives you a large area to explore. But where this games shines is in the practically limitless ways of dispatching your targets and completing your objectives. You can dress up in many different outfits, use many different tools to your advantage, and find many different locations in the area to help you complete your mission is what makes Hitman so much fun. It's discovering what these items do and how that person and the people around them react is what makes this game a solid example of how important discovery is in a game. Even discovering something that ends up with you dying is still rewarding, as for you learn from your mistakes and you remember what to do and what not to do next time. Discovering that chandeliers in the game have a winch that you can interact with and you can crush people with or that you can climb and shimmy up to places you never thought you could shows that discovery drives the game and that without it, Hitman would not be nearly as fun as it is now.

Discovery in a game is something that is important, yet something that isn't stressed enough. Having these experiences in games are rewarding, informative, and fulfilling. From the most secretive games like The Witness to the most mainstream like Battlefield; as big as discovering what Glittermitten Grove really is to how to defeat a boss in a certain way in Dark Souls; discovery is found everywhere in games and in varying degrees. Once you put that aspect of discovery into the back of your head, you begin to realize its importance. Still not convinced? Well find the secret in this blog and if you find it, let it hopefully fill you with the same feelings that I have when discovering something in a game. Here is your hint: The amount of symbols shows what paragraph it is on, but the hand will misguide you. Finally, if you 'like' the elevated men, the amount of them will tell you how far you need to go into a word. This will show you the origins of an idea and rule breaking of a game long ago.

Here is the video of 'Rediscovering Mystery.'