Wednesday, June 04, 2008

General Gamer Geekery

Well, I've been busy posting a lot at GDL, but thought I'd ask some general goers about videogame tropes, and what they think about them. Some are really annoying. Some are fun. Still others are fun to subvert to throw players off. Here's a big list I'd like some opinions on:

Absurdly Spacious Sewer/Air Vent Escape: I know they're not that big in the real world, but having alternate routes of sneakiness is good.
Already Done For You: Handy reminder that you're not the only person/team out to save the world. Might have a scene where your characters go through a puzzle dungeon that's already solved and getting creeped out.
Artificial Stupidity: Any people with knowledge about how to avoid common pitfalls with these in 2D platformers?
Block Puzzle: Clever new models and justifications for them would be nice.
Cutscene Drop: It's annoying when playing a 2D platformer with cutscenes that require the characters to jump or walk onto their marks. Sometimes fun to force a character to jump the length of the screen to get in proper discussion after beating the boss.
Dodongo Dislikes Smoke: Lot of bosses out there seem to like swallowing explosives.
Everything Breaks: How destructible do you like your environment?
Fake Difficulty: What makes you tear your hair out?
Light and Mirrors Puzzle: Any new twist you can think of?
Malevolent Architecture: How malevolent can an architect get without stretching your credulity?
Only Smart People May Pass: One of my favorite lines from Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction went something like this, said by a deadpan computer voice: "The library is protected by puzzles so devious they will fuse your neural net should you even attempt them."
Platform Hell: Sometime I need to get the full version of I Wanna Be the Guy. I don't plan on making one of those, though.
Videogame Geography: Some of the classic problems need to get fixed.

4 comments:

Tom Foss said...

Might have a scene where your characters go through a puzzle dungeon that's already solved and getting creeped out.

The companion cube would never lie to me...

Artificial Stupidity: Any people with knowledge about how to avoid common pitfalls with these in 2D platformers?

The old "enemy doesn't notice you shooting at them because you're not in their observational range" can be annoying. Also, sidekicks are generally a bad idea (I'm looking at you, Tails "Carry you whether or not it will result in your death" Prower).

Dodongo Dislikes Smoke: Lot of bosses out there seem to like swallowing explosives.

And yet, not many of them are damaged on the outside by explosives. You know what would be an interesting change? Poisoning bosses. Or getting inside them yourself and doing the damage that your bombs would do otherwise.

Everything Breaks: How destructible do you like your environment?

Depends on the type of game. It's always been a bit of a realism-killer to be able to shoot rockets at windows for hours without seeing so much as a scratch. On the other hand, it's a little ridiculous to go into people's houses and casually smash up the place, or play amateur gardener, for a few measly Rupees. If I'm playing a shooter, pretty much everything within reason should show signs of damage when I shoot it. If I'm in an RPG, it's less important, since the backgrounds are largely symbolic anyway.

Fake Difficulty: What makes you tear your hair out?

I think the TV Tropes page has this pretty well covered, since it depends on genre.

Light and Mirrors Puzzle: Any new twist you can think of?

Lenses.

stogoe said...

Lenses.

Ooh, I like that. I wouldn't go crazy with different refractive indices or focal lengths, though.

AarowSwift said...

Block Puzzles - It's on the list of Tropes but I always felt the original Soul Reaver did block puzzles right. There weren't just blocks you shoved onto switches, there were also parts of mechanisms that needed to be rebuilt in order to work. Raziel could also interact with the pieces more than just pushing and pulling, he also could lift/flip them. Soul Reaver is a good case study. Some of the puzzles felt artificial but a lot of them melded naturalisticly into the environment and I think that's something always worth striving for.

Aaron Golas said...

Dodongo Dislikes Smoke: How about subverting the trope with a boss that actually finds nourishment from explosives? Say, for instance, you have to bomb his cavern/tail/baby/magic power crystal to do him damage, but he keeps trying to eat the bombs you plant.

If he eats an explosive, it foils your attempt and makes him faster/stronger/regain health or something. So you have to guard the bomb, but that risks putting you in danger of the blast yourself (as opposed to the ol' light-the-fuse-and-run-like-heck).