An experience that I’ve been very familiar with over the years that I’ve spent playing videogames is moving the weapon just a little too slowly, and hitting the button a few seconds too late. A lot of games, particularly fighters and first-person shooters, rely on timing and hand-eye coordination. When you’re someone like myself, who always ends up taking an extra few seconds to react no matter what, time-sensitive requirements make games much more challenging. I’m very much the type of person who can only play these types of games in a single player mode on the easiest possible difficulty.
My difficulties mean that functions otherwise meant to be secondary hold a much more primary function in my particular experience, and one of them that holds true across multiple games is the Photo Mode. While such an option was barely developed in older games like Pokemon Snap or Fatal Frame, where it served as the core of the gameplay but was less about the aesthetic quality of the pictures that you were taking, newer games have begun to greatly expand on the capabilities of the Photo Mode, and you’re likely already familiar with some of them. Single-player games like Marvel’s Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption II or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are a few examples, but the function in each exists in a very different context, even if all three, to some degree, allow for creative expression using their Photo Modes.
Marvel’s Spider-Man and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate both feature Photo Modes that allow for the “camera” to be placed almost anywhere in the environment, with the latter having the added function of being able to play out frame-by-frame so that the proper angle and character pose can be found. An assortment of filters and borders can also be applied on both. In the case of Red Dead Redemption II, the options are greatly limited to what might have been realistically available in 1899, but also serve as a minor part of the gameplay itself in some crucial moments.
Being able to take as much time as you need to line up the shot, with no fear of failure, is what ultimately makes these modes very meaningful for me as a player. I am clearly not the only one, as subreddits such as /r/DailyBuglePS4 and /r/SmashShots collect fan submissions to showcase the creative prowess of their respective communities. In the case of Nintendo, the company has already noticed the community springing up around this feature and has already held an official contest asking for submissions. A videogame can be a meaningful thing to play, even when it is used in an unconventional way, and these new approaches to playing videogames can help people with poor hand-eye coordination (like me), or any number of other issues.