How deep was Deus Ex's simulation? A literal piece of paper could set off a laser trap

JC Denton is surprised
(Image credit: Eidos Interactive)

Deus Ex, there's a reason we all still bang on about it after all these years. I love you Adam Jensen, and I'm sorry your girlfriend did human experiments on you and gave you robot arms, but you just can't compare to my man JC. Case and point: an absolutely ludicrous bit of simulationist detail shared on Twitter by streamer StickmanSham.

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As we are all wont, Stickman was dicking around with some metal boxes to get over the security laser tripwires outside Smuggler's lair. The squirrely arms dealer's home security activates an autoturret to make Swiss cheese out of 21st century supercop JC Denton if he isn't too careful.

While mucking around with physics objects to make a path, Stickman tosses a full garbage bag out of the way and next to a nearby oil drum fire (only in New York baby!). The garbage catches on fire from touching the drum, itself a fun bit of systemic interaction, but the next bit is the really crazy part.

After a couple of seconds on fire, the garbage disintegrates into random detritus, including some scraps of paper that waft away. You'd think these are just some sprites or models with no collision, but no, the paper is actually an object in the world that can trip the security beam Stickman was taking such pains to get around. The machine gun pops online, and JCD (password: bionicman) leaves the world of the living.

It's always a treat to be reminded of Deus Ex's legendary attention to detail, but I'm just blown away that I'm still getting surprised by this game. I played it for the first time well over ten years ago, and never even noticed or saw mention of tiny detritus like this setting off tripwires! For further reading on Deus Ex, we published a feature on its iconic opening level back in 2020, and we've also got a start up guide for mods and such if you've got the itch for a replay.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.