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

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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  • I remember playing Goldeneye and Turok 64 with group-enforced rules to spice things up. We'd play "Hunt the Raptor" or assign the best player the worst controller. We called it the Torgo control, if that means anything to you. :)
    • by mikael ( 484 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:41PM (#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.

    • We called it the Torgo control, if that means anything to you. :)

      The master would not approve...

      I actually made a Torgo costume for Halloween when I was in college.

    • Holy hell, do I know you? I thought we were the only ones who did Hunt the Raptor. We used Turok: Rage Wars. We'd have hunted a dozen of the damn things if we could, but unfortunately that game had a hard 4-player limit, so we just played 3 at a time vs. 1 bot raptor with the highest AI level.

      I also do things like this in Left 4 Dead to keep things interesting when the teams are horribly unbalanced.

      If you're on my team and we've demolished the other team in the first two levels of a campaign, expect to h

  • by kencf0618 ( 1172441 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:46PM (#28086887) Homepage

    A lot of vaudeville acts got into the movie business (The Three Stooges and The Marx Brothers among them), and they very quickly learned that a shtick that could last for years on the various circuits on the road got national exposure on film -and then they had to come up with new shticks. Games have something of the same dynamic going on with hedonistic adaptation. First the intensity goes up, but eventually the form itself changes.

  • Already Happened (Score:5, Informative)

    by LeafOnTheWind ( 1066228 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:52PM (#28086955)

    See Warcraft 3 and DoTa. The DoTa mod is vastly more popular than the original game.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So is Counter-Strike. But I don't think the gameplay of WC3 or HL includes playing with map editors or sdks.

    • Or, to a lesser degree, turret defense in starcraft.
      • I think very few people on Bnet play the standard maps that Blizzard originally wanted people to play. Blizzard made their own version of Big Game Hunters with almost limitless resources only because people wanted to play Starcraft without the complexities of being forced to expand. Obviously the pro-gamers still play the traditional maps, but I would say a large majority of the casual players play either BGH, some other infinite resources map, or as you mentioned, some custom scenario where you have to

    • Re:Already Happened (Score:5, Informative)

      by odourpreventer ( 898853 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:27PM (#28087263)

      I recommend "Thief - the Metal Age". Arguably the biggest modding community on the net. Hop over to Thief: The Circle [] for more info.

      • We need a remake of that game. Not like Thief 3. The originals, the Circle, etc... all put in a modern engine with the gameplay kept as close as possible to the old.

    • Using the portal gun in HL2 maps. Totally changes the game and you can get places you were never suppose to.

      You can also fall "through" the ground. Once after falling bellow the playing area I found a Large Orange cube, Weird.
    • The summary and the quote differ dramatically. For one, DotA/CS was not in Warcraft 3/Half-Life 's core intentions. For another, finding glitches in games, say edge-of-world boundaries (in WOW), secret moves (in SSB), and even delete content (in GTA) is essentially different. I personally enjoy the glitches / hacking at games (no, not like wall-hacking), but then again that job is more for game testers and can get old extremely fast.

      I would agree that every game or platform developer believes in creating
    • Counter Strike (Score:5, Informative)

      by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @05:56PM (#28088085) Journal
      Ha! People tend to forget that counter-strike is a mod for Half Life ! A game that notoriously sucked, in multiplayer mode...
      • I didn't forget, I just don't like counterstrike ;)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Ha! People tend to forget that counter-strike is a mod for Half Life ! A game that notoriously sucked, in multiplayer mode...

        Half Life DM sucked? Are you nuts? Half Life DM rocked man.

    • Counter Strike is the most prominent example, being originally a community mod for Half Life (until absorbed).

      A more recent example is Oblivion. It was game with great potential, but lousy execution and horrible design decisions. Only the mods made it a great game.

      Fallout 3, might go the same way, though the basic game is much better and obviously influenced by the popular mods for Oblivion.

      Paradox games such as Europa Universalis III, and Hearts of Iron 2, usually also has mods which improves or expands ga

  • Yes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:55PM (#28086981)

    Unfortunately 3DRealms fucked it up

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @03:59PM (#28087009)

    ...the best version is the one you were never intended to play.

    Is that you Joshua []?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ..Include "surfing" in Counter Strike (there seems to be a whole community of guys creating maps just for this purpose, check them out on Youtube) and "stunting" in the GTA series, most notable Vice City and San Andreas (there's also a pretty thrivig community, it seems).

    I also remember spending hours playing Lemmings, just having fun doing crazy tunnels/bridges and totally disregarding the actual goal.

    • The better example from counterstrike is bunny hopping. The whole games balance was shifted by it with people becoming highly proficient. Servers and clans popped up around bunny hopping such that when it was finally removed tears were shed.
  • by meist3r ( 1061628 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:01PM (#28087045)
    and ever ... and ever ... and ever ... and ever
  • ... (version we weren't intended to play, I mean) .. with the hot coffee add-in for GTA? []

  • by panthroman ( 1415081 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:04PM (#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 @04:16PM (#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.


    • The folks in the dorms way back in my undergrad days would play multiplayer Descent with a "flares only" house rule, because it was too easy to kill people otherwise.

  • My favourite two meta games in games were speed running through Super Monkey Ball, and comparing times with my friends and the whole internet. And the other was hacking Dead or Alive Volleyball on the Xbox to change their swimsuits. But that kinda got taken down big time. Other classics for this was goldeneye and Starcraft, the level editor for which was practically an SDK.
    • Haven't played Super Monkey Ball, but in the apparently SMB-inspired Linux game Neverball, there are also some people who enjoy solving levels in various extreme ways. Since the game has a video recording mode, you can show off not just your time, but how you did it too.

      • by orta ( 786013 )
        Thanks for that, Neverball is cool for sure. I remember someone showing me them controlling it via tilting a mac book. Very cool,
  • "Is The Best Game One You Were Never Intended To Play?" No! next question.
  • Geometry wars 2 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nyall ( 646782 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:11PM (#28087133) Homepage

    I was playing this at a friends and we were having more fun trying to get the quirky accomplishments than the actual game.

  • It was called TRIBES (Score:5, Informative)

    by Piata ( 927858 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:15PM (#28087165)

    There was a bug in the game that allowed you to "ski" by hitting the jump button repeatedly. Skiing let you gain a lot of momentum and using your jetpack to climb hills would let you maintain it.

    That bug completely changed the way the game was played and made crossing large open environments effortless. The developers never fixed the bug and instead made it a feature of Tribes 2.

    • by Etrias ( 1121031 )
      Bingo. This was the first thing I thought of when I saw the topic. I can't imagine what this game would have been like without being able to ski. Instead of the fast paced/all action game it became, it would have turned into a sniper-fest waiting for the other guy to peek their head around a ridge.
  • No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DMUTPeregrine ( 612791 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:21PM (#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.
    • Re:No. (Score:5, Funny)

      by jonaskoelker ( 922170 ) <> on Monday May 25, 2009 @09:23PM (#28089917)

      Nethack. The Devs Think of Everything.


      This will spoil a cruel joke the Devs have played on you.

      Once I was playing nethack, I encountered (I think) a fountain. I "use" it, and out pops a genie which lets me wish for any item I want. Naturally, I wish for the amulet of Yendor. I'm obviously shocked and surprised when he gives it to me. Not really believing what I see, I look at my inventory thrice. "Okay, my trusty feline friend, let's head for some moonlight!" (ever noticed how it's always full moon when you play?). Heart racing, I evade or fight off the monsters meeting me on the way. Standing at the stairs on level 1, I let go a deep sigh and reach for my keyboard.


      Congratulations! You made it out of the dungeon alive. Would you like your items identified? (y). You hold: a sword, an armor, 3 rations, and a cheap plastic imitation of the amulet of Yendor.

      I nearly fell of my chair laughing. Truly, The Devs Think of Everything.


      • "Okay, my trusty feline friend, let's head for some moonlight!" (ever noticed how it's always full moon when you play?).

        It's only the full moon in-game when it's the full moon in real life, about one week out of the month.

  • 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 @04:26PM (#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.

    • I believe they're talking about a game whose designed game modes are not nearly as fun as the glitches that people figure out how to do in it.

      Saint's Row comes to mind.

      I've always had nearly as much fun trying to break a game as I have playing it. I still remember Secret of the Silver Blades [] for PC and my first experiments in hex editing savegames.

      Was I trying to cheat and give myself crazy stats? Not exactly... I was trying to give myself items with implausible names:

      • Leather Boulder of Holding +1
      • Vorp
      • Maybe, but I think that this:

        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.

        which is the part I was referring to, rules out that interpretation.

  • not really news (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Meton5 ( 1474189 )
    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 (let
  • Astro Chicken!

    I played that crap mini game for hours.
    My Dog, I am old and if you played it so are you.
    • by Scoth ( 879800 )

      I remember that. And the Stooge Fighter 3 in the later one. I spent probably a month playing and replaying that minigame before finding a walkthrough on a BBS and discovering you were *supposed* to lose the first time you played it (and in fact, it was enforced. If you got the opponent down to almost out of life, it'd cheat). Ticked me off :)

  • We've already seen this years ago, user-edited WAD files with Doom. It's all about letting the customer start hacking on the product. Palms were never meant to be word-processing tools but inventive users started dicking around with the memo fields and eventually hacked one together. This sort of thing was not envisioned by the original engineers but are embraced by smart companies. Enthusiastic users put their own time and effort in free of charge so that they can get exactly the product or specs they want

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      I've just discovered the Atari800 emulator for Linux. About a decade ago, I archived all my old BASIC programs onto a PC. Running them through the emulator, it was really amazing to see all those programs running again, even the ones with 6502 assembler coded as DATA statements.

      Then I read about MyDos (which seemed to be the default OS for the Atari in the USA), 6502 C compilers (CC65), find internet archives of just about every Atari game and cartridge that existed. It makes me really want to learn more ab

  • I remember back in the days of Desert Combat when I was in early high school, getting the idea of parking mobile AA on the hillside, allowing you to get the gun pointed down farther than being level and using the AA guns against people - was great stuff, then a month or 2 later EVERYBODY was using it...

    I mean, I doubt I was the first person to do it, but I'd never seen or heard of anybody else doing it before after playing it for months myself...

    There was also that annoying crap on Alamein (I think?)
    • Re:Desert Combat (Score:5, Informative)

      by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @05:27PM (#28087841)

      I remember back in the days of Desert Combat when I was in early high school, getting the idea of parking mobile AA on the hillside, allowing you to get the gun pointed down farther than being level and using the AA guns against people - was great stuff,

      I mean, I doubt I was the first person to do it, but I'd never seen or heard of anybody else doing it before after playing it for months myself...

      Oh for the lack of history education now a days ... I suspect the great desert fox himself might have invented the technique circa 1941... [] []

  • Mine would be Burnout Paradise for the PC. I was bored once day, so I downloaded the demo. I kept playing it so much each day, I purchased the game at my local BestBuy. I would say it is the best game I choose on impulse. It only got better when they added the motorbikes as an expansion. I'm willing to bet having fighter jets would be fun too weaving in and out of building and bridges. Criterion, are you listening?

    Burnout Paradise uses the PC version of the XBOX 360 controller. I highly recommend it. It's a

    • by V50 ( 248015 ) *

      Yup, 3 Burnout Paradise. I too bought it on impulse, when it was added to the PlayStation Store. Downoaded it, and it's since become one of my favorite PS3 games. I especially love the DLC that added the Ghostbusters car and the General Lee.

  • [] ... Rise of the Triad, an all around awesome game by the way; And for those not already amongst the enlightened: [] []
  • got me again......... :-(

  • I know one (Score:2, Funny)

    by KingPin27 ( 1290730 )
    Is The Best Game One You Were Never Intended To Play? Duke Nukem Forever
  • A strange game - (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) * on Monday May 25, 2009 @05:04PM (#28087635)
    The only winning move is not to play. []

    How about a nice game of chess?
  • In TFC, the soldier's "rocket jump" was an unexpected result of the force given by the rocket's explosion while jumping, and the damage wasn't enough to kill the player. This could propel them to battlements and so forth to cause hell.

    Because the community loved the 'feature', VALVe included these strategies into TF2 with explanations of how to do it, and animations to support the action.

    • by jmke ( 776334 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @05:40PM (#28087939) Homepage Journal
      what are you on about? Rocket Jumping was known since the launch of Quake 1 in 1995, TFC came much later and they designers of it very well knew what the rocket launcher was capable of.

      The only game devs which did not know about the RJ were... ID Software when the released Quake 1 :)

      scar3crow: Quake has always had wonderful deathmatch, and it certainly popularized something many take for granted these days - rocketjumping. Aside from your lateral use of it in Mt Erebus in Doom, did you foresee it in the way it came about in deathmatch? John Romero: We had no idea until after the game was released and I started hearing the word being used... Even then I thought it meant jumping over someone's rocket! When I saw it in action i was amazed and immediately starting doing it all the time.

      scar3crow: It certainly makes for a different dynamic in the flow of maps, in some cases completely circumventing the pace the mapper may have intended (such as in DM4 where it makes the map even tighter).
      John Romero: Yeah, most of the single-player maps break with rocket-jumping. E2M1 in 11 seconds. Heh

      src: []

      • by El_Oscuro ( 1022477 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @08:28PM (#28089429) Homepage
        Please. Rise of the Triad [] had the rocket jump back when Doom 2 was new.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Riff10111 ( 30276 )

          Please. Rise of the Triad had the rocket jump back when Doom 2 was new.

          The first Marathon [] had it two months previous to RotT. And it was necessary to reach many of the secrets.

        • by jmke ( 776334 )
          last time I checked this was about gameplay events which were not intended by the devs; Q1 & RJ applies here.
      • I find it pretty hard to believe that whoever was programming the physics in Quake1 didn't realize the rocket jumping possibilities that he/she was allowing. I honestly doubt that there wasn't at least one person who was play testing that thought "I wonder what would happen if I pointed my weapon down and jumped at the same time." The rocket jumping seemed like it was balanced to me. As a game programmer myself, I just don't see how programming a physical response like that wouldn't lead a programmer

        • by jmke ( 776334 )
          how can they not play the game enough when they were making levels for it which required precision navigation; thus playtesting;)
          • by brkello ( 642429 )
            When you don't know of a certain capability, how can you play test that with it in mind? If a mapper doesn't know if you do certain things, you can fly...they aren't going to design the map around that. They will see if you can jump up on a ledge...and if you can't and are supposed to, make it lower.
    • Note to any sleeper cell insurgents that may be following Slashdot: rocket jumping works perfectly in real life, and gives a definite edge over those pesky infidels.
  • tempting Eve to try anal.

  • Self-defeating (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If you make easter eggs an intentional part of the game, something that players are supposed to find... well, guess what, it's not an easter egg anymore.

    These kinds of things are only interesting because they weren't part of the normal gameplay. Most easter eggs are actually pretty dull if taken on their own merit (a "developer room" with NPCs standing around doing nothing? Wow, so glad I spent 500 hours trying to find this place).

    Truth is that if you can really do something in a game that completely borks

  • by carlzum ( 832868 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @07:07PM (#28088699)
    I admit I don't use Twitter, but I recognize that broadcasting brief, one-way messages is useful to some people.

    However, I'm sick of seeing Twitter referenced as a major milestone in communication. What influence did Twitter have on the latest Tony Hawk game? It's impact on the way people play video games is negligible at best. If Twitter went away tomorrow Facebook and MySpace would fill the void without a single enhancement: "Playing Tony Hawk 49, found a door I can open on the Tokyo level." What would be lost without Twitter, other than the verb "twit"?
  • by RubberChainsaw ( 669667 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @07:32PM (#28088915)
    The original NWN on AOL was intended to be a multi-player cooperative RPG. Players were not allowed to attack each other. However, players discovered that they could still cast spells at one another, including damage spells. This allowed pvp to exist in the form of spell warfare. NWN pvp was one of the best social gaming experiences ever. It was turn-based combat, so its slow pace allowed chat, taunts and tactics, stuff more substantive than the "gay" of xbox live, to flow while fighting.
  • Combat for Atari 2600 had a warp effect in the tank vs. tank games. Start the game, turn your tank around and begin driving at the screen edge. Keep moving toward it full force while also firing the gun. Eventually you will warp out and come back somewhere else on the screen, sometimes to good effect and sometimes you blow up when you come out.

    It worked very well. It works in the emulators too.

    But when I think of games I was never meant to play at all, I think of ThrillKill for Playstation. This was a

  • In Descent II, there's a level towards the end with a very large room just past the start room, with a door directly across from the door to the start room, and lots of crossbarred windows to rooms all over the level that require keys for the ship to reach, but which missiles can fly between. If you start the level with a full load of guided missiles, and you get really, really good, you can take out more than half the bots in the level without even moving from the start spot. I probably got more replay v

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

    by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @09:12PM (#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.
  • People have come up with many interesting ways to play that game. I'm not talking about mods even, but things to do in the vanilla game that makes things either more of a challenge, or gives you new ways to tackle obstacles:

    * Attach a grenade (doesn't matter which type) low enough for you to jump on, attach another grenade above it and jump onto that, then crouch and remove the first grenade since your arms are just long enough to do so. Then attach a new grenade, jump, remove the previous one, and repeat t

    • by n17ikh ( 750948 )

      This is immediately what I thought of. I really enjoyed reading this guy's Deus Ex "walkthrough" [] where he breaks the hell out of the game. Similar things exist for most first-person RPG-esque games, where the possibilities to totally destroy the game mechanics are there.

  • Make your own rules (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TSPhoenix ( 1367187 )
    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

  • A Settlers sub-game classic

  • While browsing over the config file of Icewind Dale one day, I found myself surprised to find a flag called 'Nightmare=0', so needless to say, I found myself intrigued with a little voice in my head egging me to 'Do eeeeeeet!' So naturally, I set the flag to 1, and start a new game. Even with all my characters having the game's best weapons and maxed levels, I found the very first gang of goblins to be more than a match for me, to say nothing of everything else after that. One of the most challenging runs I

Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even what book.