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Mechanics That Changed Gameplay Forever 143

grammar fascist writes "A feature at 1up.com explores the various gameplay devices that revolutionized videogaming, and you might not believe how simple they are: life bars, power-ups, bosses, and combos make the list. From the article: 'As good as these ideas may sound on paper, they don't always work in execution. Sometimes they don't even make sense. But every once in a while, a game designer comes up with a fantastic concept that engages the player -- and influences the work of other designers.'"
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Mechanics That Changed Gameplay Forever

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  • Hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ethan Allison ( 904983 ) * <slashdot@neonstream.us> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:44PM (#15545063) Homepage
    Do paddles count? I say they do. You shoulda seen the Pong pre-release.
  • They missed a biggie (Score:4, Informative)

    by systemic chaos ( 892935 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:51PM (#15545117)
    Where does "computer-generated breasts on cover" fall into this list? Hey, I mean, it moves packages...
    • by Hannah E. Davis ( 870669 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:18PM (#15545284) Journal
      The concept of a static image of boobs (particularly fake boobs) as a marketing tool is not limited to gaming, so I don't know if it would qualify as a gameplay mechanic. Boob physics, however... that's an interesting one. It took a long time for the game industry to come up with character models that jiggled in the right places, and I'm actually surprised that they didn't do it earlier. It's not quite as surprising how many... uhm... packages it moved when it was finally implemented, though.
      • by RsG ( 809189 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:46PM (#15545738)
        Indeed. The modern advances in tata-rendering, textured bump mapping and inverse nippomatics are truely a driving force in the industry :-P

        Actually, I wonder how they'd do motion capture for this sort of thing? "Here, wear these patches and bounce"? Who gets the privlege of helping the motion capture subject with her equipment?
        • Motion capture? Naah, someone has to code the simulation and do MANY test runs with different parameters comparing the effect with large amounts of reference material to make sure it looks perfect ;).

          Inverse nippomatics would be if a big breasted character that stopped running would be thrown off-balance by the inertia of her huge breasts.
    • Where does "computer-generated breasts on cover" fall into this list? Hey, I mean, it moves packages...
      wait, you mean people don't buy Dead or Alive for it's fighting mechanics?

      oh wait, I forgot about the eXtreme beach vollyball.
    • Shouldn't that be "They missed two biggies"?
    • Hey, I mean, it moves packages...

      I know it moved my package.
  • by MagicDude ( 727944 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:52PM (#15545121)
    I'll tell you what changed games - Saving

    Lets face it, nobody would have ever finished the original Zelda if you had to start from the beginning everytime. Saving is what made games evolve from 3-6 hours of maximum gameplay to the massive sprawling indepth masterpieces we know today. Playing a game over and over and over so that you're perfectly adept at every nook and cranny is for the kids who have hours to spend on it, and is frustrating as hell (Ninja Gaiden I through III, I'm looking in your direction). The older crowd doesn't have the patience or the time for that kind of thing. Saving has made replayability an option, rather than a requirement.

    The same argument also applies the natural extension of saving, which is unlimited continues.
    • by Ankou ( 261125 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:08PM (#15545223)
      Game saving also got rid of all those uber players. If you met a guy who finished all of those Ninja Gaiden games in one sitting he was one BAD dude at video games. I think the most frustrating was Contra III. Even WITH the 99 men cheat it was ficken impossible.
      • Game saving also got rid of all those uber players. If you met a guy who finished all of those Ninja Gaiden games in one sitting he was one BAD dude at video games.

        On the contrary! Nethack has save feature, yet I tend to think people who finished Nethack as As Leet Gamers As Anyone Can Get...

      • by RsG ( 809189 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:20AM (#15547727)
        Eh, not really. I got my start on the Sega Genesis and arcade machines back in the day, and have since gone over into PC gaming exclusively. I've had it both ways.

        Not saving typically meant either A) you spent alot of quarters in the arcade or B) you learned to make the most of your lives/continues/whatever. It didn't really make you "uber".

        Nowadays, games have more depth and skill involved. They're longer and typically harder to finish. Yes, you can reload save games to keep your progress, but the tradeoff is that reloading is neccesary. Beating an old side scroller without saving was difficult, but not impossible, for an average player; beating a modern FPS of any respectable length without saving is damn near impossible for even an expert player. There are no extra lives, no continues, and no slot to put in more quarters - you either save or start over all the way from the beginning. And the time it takes to get to the end is so much longer as well.

        And the games that do let you respawn are often the ones in which dying is taken for granted, and thus the game is corrospandingly more frustrating. MMOs like WoW are a good example of this - you might die a dozen times in a dungeon instance, but actually beating the fights is hard. Multiplayer FPS games are another example - you spawn, you're fragged, you respawn, you hope to god you'll get a kill - nope, fragged again. This is somehow easier than falling into a spike pit in Sonic the Hedgehog?
        • Not saving typically meant either A) you spent alot of quarters in the arcade or B) you learned to make the most of your lives/continues/whatever.

          C) You left the game console on while you slept, went to work, etc... and hoped nobody messed with it because you just spent several hrs a day for the last week getting where you are.

          Unfortunately C) only works if there's only a single gamer/console. Once you have a kid who also wants to play, or two kids ...

          So for me "Saves" are essential.
        • I dislike games where you can't not die the first time you play it. The fantasy is that one person, your character, can actually do all this stuff - that you're playing a fantasy 007 who just is *that* good. But when the game is impossible to survive, not just very hard, but impossible, it completely breaks that.

          I'm referring to totally unmarked traps (with no way of detection via thrown stuff, etc), leaps of faith (Super Mario!) or other things that would be guaranteed to kill someone who didn't happen to
    • by happyemoticon ( 543015 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:16PM (#15545266) Homepage

      Generally speaking I'm in favor of saving, and when not available, emulator state saving and loading. Of course, I do feel like kind of a hack when arbitrary saving and loading allows me to essentially have infinite lives and ammo, since I can ensure, with scientific accuracy, that each encounter goes perfectly.

      It sort of makes me wonder when the innovation of multiplying the actual length of the game by several times came about. You know, like when you get to the end of one of those really hard, old-school platformers and it tells you, "Actually, you need to play the whole game again - except now you have to finish the whole thing without getting hit once, and in this certain amount of time." This is frequently in those games on the other end of the spectrum - you know, the ones with no saving at all. I prefer a middle-ground myself. I mean, sure, I love RPGs and those rare platform-style games that allow you to save your progress, but back when I was younger, I was really freaking good at Mario.

      These days I actually crave a hard game. When I get my new apartment, I'm planning on buying an Xbox specifically for Ninja Gaiden.

      • Nothing wrong with scientific gameplay. :) In ES4:Oblivion, I manual save before opening any door with a red map pointer behind it.
      • You sound like you would enjoy Metal Slug 3 on the XBox then. That game is the definition of hard.
        • The infinite credits hurt it (especially since scores are kept past continues making highscore hunting almost pointless), would be nice if you could get the game to enforce a credit limit so you don't have to count them yourself. The infinite credits are nice for two players, that way we don't end up like in Alien Hominid where the better player still is in the game while the worse one has to wait for the game to end. Maybe they changed that for the XBox, I've only played the PS2 version of MS3.
          • Infinite credits? Not on the XBox version. All we can do is kick up the lives to 5 instead of 3. My brother and I can barely get to Level 3, but we get a little further (side note: which is more appropriate for gaming, farther or further?) each time.
            • (side note: which is more appropriate for gaming, farther or further?)

              Farther is used as a measure of concrete distance. "I rode 5 miles farther than yesterday." You could maybe use it in this case if you're referring to the distance you've traveled in the game.

              Further is used as a measure of relative degree. "He took that bad joke further than he should have." It would be more appropriate in this case, in my opinion, since game progression can't really be measured in distance. It's measured relative to pas
      • Try playing Japanese style shmups like Ikaruga or the Zun games on harder difficulty.
        Watch one of the Ikaruga gameplay vids [ikaruga.co.uk] (level 3 to 5 are mad).
        Or look at a screeny from a game like Perfect Cherry Blossom here [secret.jp]. The playable char is the girl on the bottom.

        In both games, one hit from an enemy or a projectile means death and extra lives aren't easy to come by.

        It saddens me aswell that Ninja Gaiden is an XBox exclusive, meaning I will probably never play it (and get raped).
      • It sort of makes me wonder when the innovation of multiplying the actual length of the game by several times came about. You know, like when you get to the end of one of those really hard, old-school platformers and it tells you, "Actually, you need to play the whole game again - except now you have to finish the whole thing without getting hit once, and in this certain amount of time."

        Capcom's Ghosts & Goblins sticks out in my mind. "Oh, you beat the next to last boss, but you need item X to reach
        • I got to that point at 3:00 a.m. when I had to get up at 6:00 to go to work. That's when I needed a "Save Game". As it was, I paused the game and left the console on while I slept and went to work.

          Even worse was they made it sound like if I had just played on the hard level to begin with, I wouldn't have to go back through on the hard level to get the special weapon you had to have. I was again a little perterbed to find that even then you still had to go through a second time.

          But I kept playing it anyway..
    • Savegame - THE ultimate cheat.

      I wish I knew how to make a game that allows you to save&quit, then resume gameplay freely the next day, disallow to "retry" the same part for better outcome (if you screw up, restart from scratch or live with your mistakes) while keeping you immune from crashes, bugs etc. There were some games that kept saves only with purpose of resuming the game, but a crash or a critical bug that killed your character would unfairly force you to restart. OTOH I feel quite guilty if I re
      • (http://neurohack.com/transcendence/) You can save&quit, and resume later. You can purchase 'insurance' from a broker for protection against death (if your ship is destroyed you'll re-appear at the broker with full health) but the cost of insurance increases exponentially every time you make a 'claim'.
      • Nethack. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by irc.goatse.cx troll ( 593289 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:03PM (#15545554) Journal
        Nethack is a good example of no save cheating(well, not built in anyways.)

        You can save and quit, but you can't save without quitting. When you load you can resume your savegame or delete. Outside of these two option, you can't do anything else. This way you arn't stuck playing continuously, but you also can't replay anything before your savegame. Either you're playing and 'live', or you're saved and taking a break.

        Of course as a result, the vast majority of the game never gets more than half way through it, but that just makes it worth replaying. Most games today are just stuck on rails trying to tell you a story. Theres no way to fail, only fail to do what they want you to do forcing you to try again. You are not playing the game, the game is playing you.
        • ...and if I play over telnet and the net times out or if I play in xterm and X crashes or something like that, I need to start from scratch. That's the problem I mentioned - save on quit doesn't quite cut it.
          • Then nethack gets the HUP signal and autosaves.
            Should try it, telnet to nethack.alt.org and play around, you'd be surprised how safe the saves are. I've got one I havnt played in months still waiting for me.

            Only time I lost a save there was due to closing right as I did something stupid, in an attempt to cheat it into letting me recover my old save. So basically, I tried to cheat and it didn't let me.
            • Spoiler alert. You can also copy your saved games when you exit Nethack and then re-use them when you die.
              • Not when playing on nethack.alt.org, i.e on a remote server.
                But playing online has its benefit. If you get stuck in a sticky situation, others can spectate your game and help you out, you can spectate others and obviously there's the benefit of bragging rights when you ascend and get into the high scores.
                Here's mine :)
                642 4,788,222 Sakura -5/49 322/382 Val Dwa Fem Law ascended 2004-03-11
    • By the way, I remember there was savegame in Hobbit for Spectrum. Anything earlier?
    • I'll tell you what changed games - Saving Lets face it, nobody would have ever finished the original Zelda if you had to start from the beginning everytime. Saving is what made games evolve from 3-6 hours of maximum gameplay to the massive sprawling indepth masterpieces we know today...

      I think you've forgotten about the much loathed predecessor to the battery backed save..The massively overly complex password based continue system (context sensitive, using upper and lowercase letters in addition to numer

    • --I submit to you sir, that EVERY GAME SOLD TODAY should be saveable AT ANY POINT in the game, not just at certain points in the level. To do otherwise is lazy coding, and affects the average gamer when he's called to dinner, take out the garbage, walk $dog, etc.

      " Aw, MOM!!! I can't save it right now!! "
      :b
  • Mario! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Neoncow ( 802085 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:57PM (#15545149) Journal
    Oh wait, they said mechanics...
  • Disappointing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:07PM (#15545211)
    No Free-cam?
    No "sandbox mode" ala Simcity/Grand Theft Auto?
    Sniper Shots made it but "target locking?"

    This list may all be great mechanics, but many of them are far from the best.
    • I would say a glaring one they missed right after bosses would be "The Weak Spot" So many games have them... The blinking yellow point that you need to hit to take out the boss. Im not saying its a particularly good mechanic, but I would say it made it in to a lot more games than sniper shot.
  • by Benwick ( 203287 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:10PM (#15545232) Journal
    Seems to me that having a canine companion premiered in Nethack. ...And which, I might add, flamebaitingly, happens to be better than all those other games!
  • I remember being impressed with the little 3d map in Elite for the BBC micro, especially the height. Was that patented, or was there prior are or what? Anyone know?
    • Re:Elite (Score:2, Informative)

      by bobthesloth ( 981000 )
      They were the first to come up with it. A lot of the most interesting features in Elite were squeezed into the game in literally bytes. Initially, where the 3d map was there would have been two columns of numbers that told you where you were. It wasn't very intuitive, and the creators came up with the 3D map in a couple of spare bytes.
  • by xstonedogx ( 814876 ) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:20PM (#15545294)
    Mario! No wait, he's a plumber, not a mechanic...
  • by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7&kc,rr,com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:29PM (#15545353) Homepage
    What about cheat codes?
  • spread shot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fearanddread ( 836731 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:31PM (#15545373)
    In fact, the only shooters where you're not likely to find the spread shot are those of the first-person variety, like Halo and Quake. Alas, this weapon of mass destruction would simply be too much of an advantage in multiplayer matches.
    I disagree. The rocket launcher in Unreal Tournament had spread-shot capability that was devastating but in no way an unbalancing factor.
    • I think Epic disagrees, since they changed it from 6-spread in unreal tournament to 3-spread in UT2003.
      • You can't say for sure they made it 3-spread in UT:2003 because it was overpowered in UT. It is a totally different game engine with many different features. This is like saying nintendo must have thought links sword was underpowered in the original nintendo because they gave link a power spin move in Zelda: A Link to the Past. That is simply not the case, they just had a different game which they molded the items/moves specifically to fit. Had there been a patch released for UT which changed the spread
    • Halo also has a "spread shot" weapon. The shotgun. Up cloase multiple projectiles hit for big damage. At medium range the dispersion of the shot makes you more likely to score at least some damage against a target.
  • And RTS? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by loraksus ( 171574 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:52PM (#15545482) Homepage
    And what about RTS's?
    The genre has evolved by leaps and bounds in terms of gameplay in the last 5 years (try playing the original command and conquer and you can see the evolution. Ignoring the whole genre is doing a pretty big disservice.
    • Re:And RTS? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sigma 7 ( 266129 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:13PM (#15545594)
      And what about RTS's?


      In my opinion, most modern RTS games feel just as advanced as C&C. Here's a quick test to show why:

      - Select a group of units, and assign them to hotkey 1.
      - Have them attack an enemy group. Naturally, they overwhelm them and are victorious.
      - Some your units are damaged and need to be sent back to base for repair. Do so without pulling away healthy units. While you can do this on Dark Reign, Red Alert 2, and a few other games... most games on the market do not support Auto-repair or otherwise send damaged units back to base without micromanaging them.
      - While you were attacking the enemy forces, you were naturally building up another attack force with your build panel on the right-hand side of the screen. Select those new units and add them to group 1.
      - Oh look, the enemy is launching another attack - have group 1 engage and destroy them. (They will do so easily, since the computer AI sucks.)
      - Now, since the enemy base is weakly defended, have your reinforced group obliterate the enemy in one large swarm. To do so, wait until your reinforcements join up, and charge (which will be forever in every modern game other then Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2 - as units stop in their tracks as soon as their assigned target is destroyed.)

      The order of events shown above are highly reasonable in a military assault. However, RTS games have the most basic of flaws in unit AIs that prevent these things from being possible - and these flaws are fixable by anyone who knows what they are doing.
      • Re:And RTS? (Score:4, Informative)

        by doti ( 966971 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:39PM (#15546276) Homepage
        Have you ever heard of Total Annihilation [wikipedia.org]?

        It is to C&C, Starcraft and other RTSs what chess is to checkers.
        • Have you ever heard of Total Annihilation?

          It's auto-attack feature is nice... but TA:K demonstrated that it does not handle "melee-range" units. That game needed a patch to add a "Move-fight" command.

          It still has some of the flaws I mentioned - you still have to individually select units to pull them back for repair (although there are ways around this), and units still stop in their tracks when their targets are destroyed (and queueing orders doesn't count, because of the neat trick of pulling units bac

          • units still stop in their tracks when their targets are destroyed (and queueing orders doesn't count, because of the neat trick of pulling units back to mess up tactics).

            A move order before the attack order might take care of that. Of course it's queueing but at least your reinforcements will move in. Otherwise I prefer the attack-move command in most games to denote an attack (and thankfully Earth 2160 binds that to a double right click so you can use it almost permanenty), there's few situations where you
          • Are you sure this is TA you're talking about?

            I personally am not convinced that the tactical depth in TA is as high as a game like Starcraft, but your description of TA seems overly simplistic.

            For example, two basic units, the AK and the Peewee.

            One had a rotating turrent rapid-firing short-ranged plasma rounds. Not too bad for shooting other kbots and can definitely do tricks like circle strafing.

            The other had a short ranged missile. Perhaps not so great at tracking a target while moving, but then it

      • While you can do this on Dark Reign, Red Alert 2, and a few other games... most games on the market do not support Auto-repair or otherwise send damaged units back to base without micromanaging them.

        That's because most games tend to rely on micromanagement to make the game "fun" because they saw that it worked for Starcraft. I've seen plenty of games with enough options to make autorepair possible (Warzone 2100, Earth series, etc)

        - While you were attacking the enemy forces, you were naturally building up an
    • try playing the original command and conquer and you can see the evolution

      never mind C&C, Dune 2 was the origin of the modern RTS wasn't it? I put many hours into that on my Amiga 500. I won as Harkonnen, but never managed it as Atredies or Ordos (the 2 nuke's coming at me, instead of one, was abit too much for my limited abilities).

      dave
  • Rhythm games...? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AdamTrace ( 255409 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:01PM (#15545531)
    The earliest I'm familiar with was Parappa the Rapper, but given the whole DDR/Guitar Hero trend, I think rhythm games are a whole genre that shouldn't be overlooked.

    Adman
  • How long will it be until people start to patent gameplay ideas like the lifebar?

    Imagine all of the royalties that would be due if the inventer of the life bar had gotten a patent on the idea.

    LK
    • Since episodic content delivery and apparently MMO's in general seem to already be patented, anything else listed here probably already is patented.
    • Do you honestly think this type of patenting didn't happen back in the '70s and '80s with Atari and the like?
      Take a look at this page [patentarcade.com] and scroll down to the section on Magnavox vs Atari regarding patents over Pong. Magnavox went on to sue Activision over this patent as well.
      There have been lots of these types of patent lawsuits since the beginning of the video game industry.
  • Weak article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:17PM (#15545621)
    A seriously weak article. It had it spot on with a few of the entries, but come on, dog side-kicks transformed gaming???

    How about:
    Run and jump?
    Scrolling backgrounds? (It changed shooters forever and then changed platform games forever).
    Analog controls? Mario 64 introduced "push the stick a little to tip toe", "medium to walk" and "all the way to run". This feature is in 90% of character based 3D games now!

    There are plenty more, but this article obviously didn't want to get too technical.
    • and no printer-friendly version to read as a normal non-ad-infested article. :(

      So sad. Seems most sites are dropping "printer-friendly" as people are wising up and reading that instead of the click-ad-click-ad-click-ad versions.
    • seriously... (Score:3, Informative)

      by sammy baby ( 14909 )
      The one I can't believe they skipped is "mouselook."

      Seriously, a whole genere of game (FPS) depends on this mechanic. How could it have gone unremarked?
  • Errors (Score:5, Informative)

    by MilenCent ( 219397 ) * <johnwh@@@gmail...com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:32PM (#15545684) Homepage
    I love searching these articles for errors. There are fewer than I expected -- attributing the origin of a health total to a game by *SNK* seemed obviously false at first, but the game offered, Ozma Wars, came out shortly after Space Invaders. (That's real early.) And I respect the writers for remembering Gaplus.

    Doesn't mean the article's entirely accurate though:

    Power-ups: I'm reasonably sure Pac-Man wasn't the first.

    Chain Reactions: Missile Command's "matchbook" explosions far predate those of Bomberman.

    Time Manipulation: Ladybug has a freeze-the-enemies item, as does Q*Bert.

    Spread Shot: Oh please, Contra was NOT the first game to do this.

    Canine Sidekick: What? Stupid.

    Co-op play: Eliminator predated Gauntlet.

    • Re:Errors (Score:2, Informative)

      by Das Modell ( 969371 )
      Grappling Hook: Bionic Commando [mobygames.com], 1988. The article is referencing some sort of later version of the game, because the NES certainly didn't have graphics like that, and the main character was not called Radd Spencer. In fact, I don't remember what he was called, but it was not Radd Spencer.
      • Actually, I think it's referencing an earlier version of the game (than the NES). The arcade version of Bionic Commando, which preceded the NES version, had much better graphics.
      • Actually, that one's correct: the imagine is from the arcade version, which by most accounts is a less interesting game than the NES/Famicom one.
  • Balance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by owlman17 ( 871857 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:43PM (#15545728)
    Finding the right balance while keeping it interesting is hard. Starcraft is a very balanced game. And its probably why it ranks as one of the best all-time games out there despite its age. Of course, Warcraft and the original C&C also had balance in the sense that they had practically identical units, but Starcraft really makes this interesting. Its almost like playing a 3-way chess with the races. Heck, this could be the chess of the future. And yeah, the best games I ever played were always about gameplay, not graphics, though that helps.
  • Wait... power-ups. Nevermind, they covered that.
  • They said the spreadshot premiered in 1988 in "Contra" but I remember it in Rex on the speccy - that must have been before 1988, surely?

    Then they said the canine sidekick premiered in 1990, but what about nethack?

    They said that cooperative play premiered in gauntlet in 1987, but gauntlet was release for speccy in 85 (two years earlier).
    • Speaking of cooperative play. There was a game for the spectrum with an occult theme where you went around a set of rooms and a second player could target the baddies with a sight that they moved around. Anybody know the game?
    • The original "Gauntlet" was actually my roommates MIT thesis (you don't *have* to do a thesis as an undergrad, but he did). It was called Dandy, it ran on the Atari 400/800 computers, and it let up to four players play using the four joystick ports. Finished in the fall of 1982 or so, before he joined Atari.

      Atari coin-op loved the game, and shamelessly ripped it. When Jack objected, he settled for a copy of the coin-op Gauntlet (which, being a roommate, I had to help schlep from apartment to apartment fo
  • by shoolz ( 752000 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:40PM (#15545985) Homepage
    Air control during a jump! Thanks SMB 1! That was a HUGE platform-game improvement that was carried forward all future platform games (that didn't suck).
  • Sony, Virgin

    Yakuza, Mafia

    too easy?

    yeah, i had to prove i'm a crazy mofo. :)
  • Dog Sidekick? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 16, 2006 @02:00AM (#15546763) Homepage Journal
    Having a dog sidekick makes the list but for some reason interactive content doesn't?

    You want to talk about mechanics that revolutionized gameplay. Here are some HUGE omissions from the list.

    Pause Button
    Save Feature
    Online play
    Mod tools
    Creating dynamic content in game (like Sim Life or Spore)
    Musical Gameplay
    Force Feedback
    Analog Controls
    Alternate Endings
    Unlockable Content

    But having a dog sidekick beat out all those things.
  • Some are quite valid (online game, HP bars, combos, powerups), but others... why the f... should a "dog sidekick" be a revolution in game development?

    Well, it's summer, there's little else to report. I'd call that a filler. On 1up, and on slashdot.
  • The concept of co-operative play first shew up in "Space Invaders" for the Atari 2600, which featured various modes in which two players worked together. Canine sidekicks have been around since Hack, now NetHack. And "design your own character" was first seen in Citadel on the BBC and Electron. Admittedly, you only had a choice of "male" or "female"; but the clothing and hairstyle were a little bit different.

    Just goes to show, whatever it is, you probably weren't the first person to think of it!
  • I find it funny that Prince of Persia -- as in the old, sprite-based version(s) -- wasn't mentioned. Surely, some of its platforming mechanics could be considered worthy of the list, like PURE, TOTAL UNFORGIVING EVIL GAMEPLAY. I swear, that game gave me some weird Stockholm Syndrome.
  • First time I saw this was SWAT from Quake1, then Actionquake2, the team from which Gooseman left to make Counterstrike. And then a billion other "realistic" games spawned a bevy of bullet-based FPS games.

    The popular weaponry was rocket launchers, railguns, freaky energy weaponry and whatnot. Now many games have hit-scan bullet guns instead, and with recoil, stability, and locational damage.

    So many FPSes are tossing in headshots and favoring bullet-based guns. I like the crazy fictional guns, too much same-n
  • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @12:37PM (#15549554)
    from the gotta-love-bosses dept.
    No, I don't gotta love bosses. I even hate that they're called "bosses". And they're so widespread in games and still the gaming definition of a "boss" has yet to make it into a dictionary [reference.com]: an exceptionally difficult opponent at the end of a level of a computer game which must be defeated to advance to the next level or finish the game.

    The very idea that they would have one powerful enemy at the end whose sole purpose is to defeat the one person who had ever managed to cut through all the defenses makes no sense. He should instead be outside to support the other defenses, not held in reserve as a single defensive point.

    Now give me a game where whether you're able to get to the end depends on you surviving your own character's fatigue, where your character really doesn't have the time or endurance to "clear the level" (and not by having infinitely regenerating enemies). Maybe dealing with that would get game designers to stop making games where all you have to do is keep mashing the A button.
  • Smart Bombs a la Defender.

    The Dual Joystick controls of Robotron.

  • I remember the first space-flight sim that allowed me to use a tilt-joystick... effectively adding another dimension to the gameplay. It's a case of gameplay mechanics+physical mechanics... and actually makes a significant difference in gameplay (many of those who play BF2 as chopper pilots would likely also agree).

    Not sure what the first game to come out with this, or the first joystick for that matter... but definately a bit step for control of virtual aircraft/spacecraft.

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