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Flashlights in "interactive media"

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  • Flashlights in "interactive media"

    So, guys, I'm sure we are all grown ups here but we haven't left our child selves behind. Or at least I hope you guys haven't

    Now that we're out of the 20th century and they've been around for over 20 years, I believe we can say video games aren't just a kiddy thing. I mean, it's one heck of a market, 93 BILLION dollars is quite a sum, isn't it? And while I could go on about how expansive the whole universe of gaming is and how there's something for everyone, that tangent would go for a lifetime. So allow me to point this out specifically to the title's subject:

    Flashlights in video games. Specifically, how present they are, how important they are, and how varied their role can be. All that, and what makes a good light in a video game according to the players.

    If anybody here is as old school as me, you remember the older Quake engine games where the light's beam profile was huge up close and could tighten up to a pinhead's width at extreme distances and generally you had to aim at the wall at the side of the dark corridor you were going through or else you'd only see the distant reaches lit up. It's funny that those beams were a perfect uniform wall of light - games invented Orange Peel reflectors before real life did!
    Also, speaking of life imitating art, major kudos to Unreal for pitting cool white up against neutral white in two separate flashlights... back in 1998, when LED's were barely imagined as portable light sources!

    Then came Valve's Source engine and the model we have today, where the light's beam works quite differently: it's wider and has the look of an actual beam, though its range is arbitrarily short and the throwy hotspot, when present, doesn't reach any farther than the spill. That and if you use it in a lit environment, prepare to be entirely blinded because apparently their lumens scale with how much sunlight is present Joy.

    And while that covers the appearance of the torch, its role is another matter entirely. The flashlight can be just an item just a way to find your way in the dark and scrounge around nooks and cranies out of the way for goodies or secrets, or it can have a gameplay function, such as in One Late Night where it can burn away an evil ghost as part of the plot progress; Silent Hill where you can't see items or check your map without it being lit; or First Encounter Assault Recon, Doom 3 and other games where you have to take into account the very much IRL factor of a threatening presence noticing the light you're putting out and reacting accordingly.
    It can be a separate inventory item that your avatar apparently wears like a headlamp despite its handheld looks, it can be an actual handheld item with a viewmodel in your hand, or it can be an innovative hybrid like the pocket light in Contagion, where you can hold it on hand or attach it to your chest while using another item, but it doesn't work like a headlamp in that it realistically stays off-center instead of zeroed at the center of the screen.

    Although in all cases, there's one constant: either the flashlight runs out of juice faster than an incan using zinc carbon batteries, whereas it may or may not recharge somehow and in half the time it takes to spend its power to boot (it usually does), or it'll miraculously last forever.

    Although I gotta say that, despite all of these crazy or convenient conventions, we still have a leg up on the fictional world regarding our lights: we have versatility on our side! HA! Lights in games apparently still work on the extremely basic early 1891 concept of "either it's on or it's off", with none of the variations in use that we have readily available and that have been going around for at least half a decade. At most we have Moira Brown's light (which, by the way, looks suspiciously like a TN4A) in Resident Evil Revelations 2, where it can tighten its beam, Alan Wake's torch in the titular series where he can turn it up to turbo for fractions of a second for plot reasons, and Artyom's headlamp in Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, where you can crank up the battery to achieve a Turbo mode of sorts that can blind a select few enemies - as a cool addition, when the power is low the beamshot browns out, showing that it's clearly an incandescent of some kind. Though nowhere, and I mean nowhere, will you find a flashlight item that has something as basic as a firefly mode, even though ever since 2003 we have night vision AND thermal vision goggles within the same battery-less equipment

    While this gigantic rant barely scratches the surface of the topic, someone had to start it. Opinions, thoughts, observations, everyone is free and welcome to reply!

    And so I feel proud of leading the grand opening of the forums' Cafe section! Hopefully this thread compels others to chat about their hobbies and other curious parts of life and we can make this a great Rest & Recreation spot among the insanity that is the flashlight community.

    See you, guys!

  • #2
    A good read... However, I gave up gaming in my PS2 days when timesplitters 1&2 ruined my first marriage. In hind sight, thank you to both those games!! My interests have changed allowing my nerdiness to shift towards loving torches. My 4
    year old is obsessed with my said obsession. As he begs to play with my flashlights nightly, exalting his behavior as "Green" at school that day to seal the deal. I enjoy the days of being able to share in a hobby as simple or as complicated as collecting flashlights. Hail hail to ThruNite for providing us great quality at great prices. Enjoy life in all you do and above most enjoy your lights!!


    • #3

      Haha, your kid sounds just like a younger me! I have no idea how much cash I made my parents burn on cheap tin/plastic flashlights back when they were incandescent only. Later on, the trend continued with lights strapped with those big clusters of weak LEDs on a bezel that might cause nightmares on trypophobes. I used to carry a green plastic one with a basculating outlet plug before I started working.


      • #4

        Yeah, he is well on his way to flashlightism as am I. It is a neat hobby with multiple purpose. I can't wait to have a "collection" to display that is worthy of more then just a Walmart shelf. ThruNite is going to assist me on arriving at this goal!


        • #5
          A toast to one more flashaholic in the world! Soon our species will not be rare and endangered anymore!