Wide Open Spaces: The Game

14 Mar





Many independent games resemble the big-name titles of 15 years ago, and this is more than just a generational obsessions with Mario (although, there is a lot of that as well). There’s an obsession in the community at the moment with how games use the space the player inhabits. We tend to expect games to do certain things because they’ve always done them, and as much as people bitch about it now there’s never been a period in video game history where there weren’t hundreds of shitty titles that all did the same thing. If you don’t believe me, go look at a list of all the SNES titles for some 2,500 “man walks to the right, shoots some things and collects others” games.

The whole concept of video games you play at home came as an evolution of arcade games, which by necessity all contained some mechanic for the player to continue putting money in to keep playing the game –  usually buying up new lives until you ran out of money.  Most of the early consoles were simply conversions of those arcade titles to home consoles, so the lives mechanic  remained. Developers use it because it’s  easy way to build tension into a game, but it’s a system that has become a hinderance-  in Mario Galaxy there were so many lives available and the penalty for death was so small that even having lives was almost a waste of time.

The above two games do away with limited lives, so the challenge of the game is how you arrange the game world yourself. This also makes it impossible for the game to cheat, if you fuck up it is your own fault.


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