The new concussion grenades can either emit light or suck it all up.
Every few months, someone points out that videogame lamps use real electricity, and another round of people go “huh, I guess that’s true, isn’t it?” It shouldn’t be a surprising observation, because of course displaying 3D light sources requires electricity (with caveats (opens in new tab)), and yet there’s an eeriness to the idea. It’s slightly strange when virtual worlds seem to cross into the physical world like that. I don’t know if there’s a term for the phenomenon, so I’ll call it “glure,” which stands for “game lamps use real electricity.” (Be glad I didn’t go with “ludolūcēs consonance.”)
Battlefield 2042’s second season introduces another common glure effect. The culprit is another light source: concussion grenades. Like similar grenades in other games (stun grenades, flashbangs, etc), they turn the screen white to simulate exposure to a bright flash. What makes it a glure is that the brightness of the white screen can over-stimulate the actual player’s eyes, causing the virtual flashbang to act like a real flashbang, albeit an extremely weak one. (All you need to know about the real deal is that their brightness is measured in “megacandelas.”)
Most things are weak compared to tactical assault weapons, though. A white screen can sting anyone who’s playing in a dark room, and sensitivity to light varies. Bright lights can also trigger migraines. For those reasons and I’m sure more, DICE also added a setting to Battlefield 2042’s accessibility menu which lets you change the concussion grenades’ white light to a black field. It’s dark mode for flashbangs, basically. You can see the setting in action in the clip above.
I like it. The whole “videogame lamps use real electricity” thing is hard to avoid, but otherwise, I don’t think videogames should be allowed to synchronize with reality too much. Examples of glure may feel like harmless novelties right now, but for how long will that last? We started making fun of “Press F to pay respects” by pressing F to pay our respects to things, and now people unironically press F to pay respects, so if you go back and play Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare today, that scene probably feels more sincere than it used to, which is kind of funny—until one day you sacrifice a fleet of videogame spaceships to win an interplanetary war and all the military commanders start cheering because it turns out it was all real. Not so funny anymore.
The concussion grenades and new setting are among the smallest aspects of Battlefield 2042’s second season I could’ve fixated on, so I appreciate whoever at DICE captured the demonstration clip I asked for. (I’m afraid I didn’t have time to unlock the grenade for myself this week.) Aside from a grenade type, the season adds a new map, specialist, guns, and other stuff that I wrote more about here.
A concussion grenade in dark mode. Surprise: it’s a black screen. (Image credit: EA)
Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call “boomer shooters” now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he’s focused on the site’s news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.