Years ago I worked at a cinema with this fellow usher called Jess. Jess was amazing and wise and she worked the popcorn stand, and she worked it in a very particular way. She spent hours and hours there every day, ignoring customers and rooting through the depths of the popcorn, head bowed, a scowl of deepest concentration on her face. It was always the sweet popcorn that held her attention, and rightly so. What she was looking for was the rare, one-in-a-million piece of popcorn that had far more than its fair share of sugar on it. Most popcorn has a sort of matte, papery surface, doesn’t it? But these special, over-sugared pieces looked like they had been varnished. They crunched in a different way between your teeth and there was something syrupy to them as they exploded with gritty sugar in your mouth.
What made them all the sweeter, of course, was the one-in-a-million thing. They weren’t the norm. They were special. And so to my favourite gaming moment of 2018, which is probably also my favourite gaming moment of the last few years, if I’m being honest. Like a piece of over-sugared popcorn I have probably come upon it once or twice in every year since 2008.
Burnout Paradise has crash gates. These lurid yellow-green things that litter the landscape and mark the entry and exit points of shortcuts. They’re like Agility Orbs in Crackdown: there’s a limited number of them (400) and once you’ve started noticing them they become all consuming.