Cutscene

The cutscene in the original Pac-Man game exaggerated the effect of the Energizer power pellet power-up[1]

A cutscene or event scene (sometimes in-game cinematic or in-game movie) is a sequence in a video game that is not interactive, breaking up the gameplay. Such scenes could be used to show conversations between characters, set the mood, reward the player, introduce new gameplay elements, show the effects of a player's actions, create emotional connections, improve pacing or foreshadow future events.[2][3]

Cutscenes often feature "on the fly" rendering, using the gameplay graphics to create scripted events. Cutscenes can also be pre-rendered computer graphics streamed from a video file. Pre-made videos used in video games (either during cutscenes or during the gameplay itself) are referred to as "full motion videos" or "FMVs". Cutscenes can also appear in other forms, such as a series of images or as plain text and audio.

History

The term "cutscene" was coined by game designer Ron Gilbert to describe non-interactive plot sequences in the 1987 adventure game Maniac Mansion.[4] The Sumerian Game (1964), an early mainframe game, introduces its Sumerian setting with a slideshow synchronized to audio recording.[5] Pac-Man (1980) is frequently credited as the first game to feature cutscenes, in the form of brief comical interludes about Pac-Man and Blinky chasing each other,[6] though Space Invaders Part II employed a similar technique in the same year.[7]

In 1983, the laserdisc video game Bega's Battle introduced animated full-motion video (FMV) cutscenes with voice acting to develop a story between the game's shooting stages, which became the standard approach to game storytelling years later.[8] The games Bugaboo (The Flea)[9] (1983) and Karateka (1984) helped introduce the cutscene to home computers. Other early video games known to use cutscenes extensively include Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken in 1983; Valis in 1986; Phantasy Star, Maniac Mansion, and La Abadía del Crimen in 1987; Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter, and Prince of Persia and Zero Wing in 1989. Since then, cutscenes have been part of many video games, especially in action-adventure and role-playing video games.

Cutscenes became much more common with the rise of CD-ROM as the primary storage medium for video games, as its much greater storage space allowed developers to use more cinematically impressive media such as FMV and high-quality voice tracks.[10]

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