This Week @ Shack: 'Auto-Pilot Engaged' Edition

In which we reflect on video games that play themselves, saving us all that unnecessary fun and enjoyment.

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Welcome to This Week @ Shack, our regular roundup of news, commentary, video, and guides.

One of the stranger phenomenons of game development bifurcating into casual mobile games and PC or console "hardcore" games has been the degree of crossover inspiration that regularly happens between the two of them. Those loot boxes you find in every game from Gears of War 4 to Overwatch can be traced directly back to the free-to-play mobile market. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the auto-play element common in many mobile games is starting to migrate as well.

The most notable recent example of this is Injustice 2, which adds AI load-outs for your characters that can be used in battles. It didn't take long for players to realize this was an easy way to grind for experience and loot. An endless playlist keeps your character grinding with only the occasional need to hit a button to continue. (Or, if you get tricksy enough, no button-pushing required at all.)

It's a convenience feature built for those of us without the time or skill to go the more traditional route, and I'm not going to act as if it's some kind of scourge on the gaming landscape. It's a shortcut for progression systems, and doesn't really take away from the pleasure of playing the game itself. It just makes the loot and leveling on a somewhat even playing field. I do think we can all agree that it is slightly weird, though, these games that play themselves so you don't have to. I imagine this would be a hard thing to explain to a non-gamer.

Then again, while writing this my Harley Quinn has gone up three levels, so it can't be all bad.

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