Sometimes I just want to jump into a game for some quick, easy, mindless action. That doesn’t always have to involve shooting other characters or zombies, but when I am in the mood for that, the last thing I want is a bunch of talking and lazy storytelling bogging me down. Just give me a gun and some enemies and I’m good to go, videogames.
Games don’t always cooperate, though. They want to make us feel like we’re watching some kind of a movie, or something. Last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live captured how frustrating it can be to waste time with virtual chit-chat when all you want to do is lock into some carefree degeneracy. In this sketch Kit Harington and SNL’s Mikey Day and Ego Nwodim play talkative non-playable characters going through some passive-aggressive workplace drama; it’ll feel familiar to anybody who’s had to sit through Screenwriting 101 dialogue before blasting up aliens or zombies or racist caricatures, or whatever.
Check it out below. And honestly, most of the time I’d be way more into this game as it exists in this sketch than in the zombie-killing shooter it’s expected to be. Turning a gritty apocalyptic paramilitary shooter into a tense conversational visual novel would be a smart bit of subversion, if it was done well. Maybe this sketch will inspire some real-life game devs to tackle that challenge.