Remember playing Grand Theft Auto IV and you’re out doing stuff and then your phone rings and you hear “COUSIN LET US GO BOWLING!” and you have to stop the stuff you’re doing so you can play a dumb minigame with your virtual cousin?
Well, Spider-Man has some of that. You’re out doing your thing and you hear the police scanner “there’s a kidnapping on 4th and Grand” and now you have to go to 4th and Grand and find the car that has noises coming from the trunk and then open the trunk and then get in a fight with the truckload of people who show up following the release of the poor schmuck in the trunk of the car.
So you do that and you get back to doing your thing. Collecting pigeons for the old widower. Checking out the remote labs that help the environment (on behalf of your dear friend Harry). Finding the backpacks that you stashed around the city when you were still in high school.
The difference between this and GTA IV, however, is that the main thing affecting you in GTA IV was your relationship with your cousin. Sure, you could tell him “No, I don’t want to go bowling” and that might affect your relationship but you could finish what you were doing, give him a call, go out to the local burger place and heal the rift between you.
In Spider-Man, you’re in a place where you’re out and about catching pigeons and you hear that there’s a kidnapping… what do you do? Well, you had better get that guy out of the trunk of the car! What the heck do you think you’re doing out and about chasing pigeons?!?
And so in addition to the vague feeling of irritation you get when you’re interrupted doing your thing, you now feel guilty unless you stop what you’re doing and help the guy out of the trunk. (It’s only slightly less stressful to hear about an armored car being robbed.)
And so the game has a way to stress you out even as you’re playing it to relax.
Other than that, though, the game is fun as heck.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))