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Is The Best Game One You Were Never Intended To Play? 156

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the excel-spy-hunter-still-the-best dept.
Wired has an interesting look at the sport of pushing proscribed boundaries in video games. Easter eggs in games have been around for years, but now finding surprises, intended or otherwise, is becoming a driving force behind the enjoyment of games. "In games as diverse as Fallout 3 and Mirror's Edge, players are pushing to find or create unexpected ways to break past the game horizon, and turn the designers' intentions on their heads. It's only a matter of time before someone releases a game where the best version is the one you were never intended to play. That's only to be expected, says David Michicich, CEO and creative director of Robomodo, the developers of Activision's new Tony Hawk: Ride, and a 14-year veteran game designer. 'Today's news gets old quick — we Twitter, blog, pass viral video. We thrive off the sudden excitement of the latest and most buzzworthy,' Michicich says. 'It's exciting to still feel like you can discover something new. It's stimulation, plain and simple.'"
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Is The Best Game One You Were Never Intended To Play?

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  • by panthroman (1415081) on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:04PM (#28087073) Homepage

    Surely lots of people make house rules to certain games, no? And isn't that a game "you weren't intended to play?"

    My buddy and I still play the 17-year-old Super Mario Kart regularly, but the game's evolved with a ton of house rules. Some exampes:
    1 - If you get a ghost, you have to either steal the opponent's current item or the very next one, but you can't just hold onto it waiting for a red shell.
    2 - If you get a banana, you can yell "GAME!" and the other player has to stop. Then you position yourself, and try to hit him by throwing the banana.
    3 - If you have one hit left, your opponent has all three, and you get a green shell...

    This wasn't the game the designers necessarily had in mind, but it's the game we like. Ghosts are too powerful. Bananas are too boring. So we tweak the rules.

    TFA mentions Easter eggs rather than house rules. Easter eggs just can't be what they were before; the internet makes it too easy to learn everything about a game. There's no way the new Zelda will have a secret room that nobody knows about for years, but ~10 years went by before I found out about the secret room [] in Zelda for SNES. You just can't have secrets like that in popular games anymore.

  • by mikael_j (106439) on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:16PM (#28087173)

    Ah yes, the "house rules", the best way to play pretty much any RTS game.

    I've found that every RTS I've played with others over a LAN has gotten boring pretty quickly, but after adding a few rules (that are enforced by throwing stuff at those who break them) like "2v2, no breaking alliances and no one is allowed to cross the river in the middle of the map for the first n minutes" tends to make the gameplay a lot more fun, I kind of wish they would build such features straight into the games but most times it's just speed, resources, tech level and map when playing multiplayer.


  • No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DMUTPeregrine (612791) on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:21PM (#28087219) Journal
    Nethack. The Devs Think of Everything. The best game is the one you didn't think you were intended to play, but were. Or at least can.
  • by pyropyroster (1513489) on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:22PM (#28087227)
    Exactly what I did with trying to play Max Payne using only the baseball bat. If you roll, time your movements properly, make enemies shot each other, use some glitches and repeat parts ad nauseum you can play most levels using only melee weapons. Recorded this on its own site [].
  • Logic fail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:26PM (#28087261) Journal

    It's only a matter of time before someone releases a game where the best version is the one you were never intended to play.

    If the best version is one in which one must unlock something, find as an "easter egg", or some how activate a cheat, and it is intended to be that way, then the game is intended to play in that mode and finding how to activate the mode becomes just another part of the game.

  • not really news (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Meton5 (1474189) on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:29PM (#28087291)
    Games that end up being described as truly great often have a sandbox quality, and some of the sand is spilling out. Super Metroid was a big one, and has spawned over a decade of "sequence breaking," catalogued over at metroid2002. One of the great fighters in recent history, Marvel vs Capcom 2, can only be described as a trainwreck as far as balance goes, and yet the open-endedness of the fighting method has allowed for years of slowly developing and improving gameplay and strategy. Games like MMOs (lets not name any names) that get patched anytime someone discovers anything, really end up excluding this player development and discovery process. At any rate, this is not really 'news' to anyone, and it certainly shouldn't be news to a game developer.
  • by mikael (484) on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:41PM (#28087403)

    While playing Pilot Wings 64, I always wanted to see what would happen if the giant balloon was bounced into the cave entrance just above the waterfall - it literally went ballistic.

    Going into the caves with the jungle-hopper boots was fun as well. Actually managed to get bounced out of the cave and into the ground plane of the moutains and was able to see the tunnel network clearly.

  • A strange game - (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RevWaldo (1186281) * on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:04PM (#28087635)
    The only winning move is not to play. []

    How about a nice game of chess?
  • by billcopc (196330) <> on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:22PM (#28087797) Homepage

    I frankly think the WoW achievement system is entirely done wrong, because it is neither social nor rewarding. You get absolutely nothing for all your troubles, save for a few near-impossible meta-achievements that give you a mount or shiny underwear or something equally useless. A challenge needs a reward to make things interesting, and warm fuzzies don't count in most cases.

    I much preferred LoTRO's achievements, which offered minor improvements to your stats for experience-related things like killing N spiders or completing M quests in a city, while being separate from the singular XP total. That gives struggling players other avenues to improve and customize their characters, and high-level players something to appease their OCD. They made the game-within-a-game worth playing.

  • X-Com, Civ 3, etc. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Monday May 25, 2009 @08:12PM (#28089793) Homepage
    Lots of games like this. I'd play X-Com with a hacked save game giving me 2 billion dollars... but limit myself to never hiring any replacement soldiers. Very difficult game. Or edit two soldiers to have ungodly stats, and playing the whole game with ONLY THEM.

    Civ 3 was literally made for creating such games. I created a "space colonists marooned on a hostile planet" scenario where you started with all techs, but only had one city and could build no more. Surrounding you were hostile civs bent on destroying you. Victory was limited to finishing the "colonize Alpha Centauri" ship. Fairly difficult game, and not at all like the "regular" version.
  • Make your own rules (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TSPhoenix (1367187) on Monday May 25, 2009 @10:12PM (#28090737)
    Been doing this ever since I was a kid. Try to finish entire stages of Super Mario World by just flying, don't collect the extra hearts in Zelda, in multiplayer games make it so whoever comes second loses, finish a game with only the intital weapon. Lots of things like these.

    Interestingly these self-made modes and challenges are now not all that uncommon in retail releases. With games awarding prizes for things like only using one weapon all game or the Don't come second mode was in a Rayman game my friend had.

Do you suffer painful hallucination? -- Don Juan, cited by Carlos Casteneda