Breath of Fresh Light: Video Games and Fun Flashlights

flashlights in video gamesThere’s a cavernous tunnel up ahead, and you have to go through it. The way ahead is so dark that no one could make it through alive.

Wait! What was that?

A blood curdling scream and the sounds of a monster’s faint footsteps behind you. You fumble for your flashlight, as you slowly turn around, to face your fear. But the flashlight emits a sickly light for a mere two seconds.

Then the light dies and darkness surrounds you. The darkness swallows you and the monster gets ready to do the same.

Game over…

***

You’ve probably used a flashlight in a video game at some point. Here are the three “F’s” that I’ve noticed about these flashlights:

Video Game Flashlights: The Three “F’s”

1. Frustrating

The above story may have you pulling out your hair. Your flashlight has a short battery life, has to recharge constantly and doesn’t give you much light. You get more juice when you squeeze an orange in the morning.

2. Frightening

In these games, the flashlight still doesn’t have much juice, which is annoying, but it’s effective in a scary game. I think F.E.A.R. is a good example of this.

3. (and sometimes) Fun

In Alan Wake, your flashlight isn’t frustrating; it’s your best friend. You’ll use it as a basic weapon to take down an enemy’s shield that’s made of “darkness.”

Basic usage of the flashlight doesn’t seem to drain much battery power in this game. But you won’t use it for the usual stuff.

You’ll spend a lot of time “boosting” your flashlight – kind of like a charged up shot – to take down enemy shields as fast as possible. That’s because you want to shoot them in the head before they throw an axe at you. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? However, boosting will drain your flashlight, and you’ll have to replace batteries.

Alan Wake has a flashlight that runs on batteries and is still fun to use. Gee, what a novel concept!

Best Use of Flashlights in a Video Game

The award for best use of a flashlight in a video game goes to… Alan Wake.

Can you think of any other games that use flashlights well? What games use them poorly?

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