Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Games Are Best When Things Go Wrong"

I caught this article on Reddit, and it's absolutely 100% true. I really enjoy a good cooperative game, but there's a particular aspect of a great co-op game that puts it over the top: panic. If you don't have those moments where everything is going wrong, you won't have the same satisfaction when you overcome those obstacles. Let me give you a few examples:

Payday: The Heist

Payday was a game that got added to my wishlist right when it came out, but stayed there until it had a dramatic price drop. Then our gang picked up the game, and we've been playing it on and off ever since. Some of the missions are stealth-based, and some are straight up action jobs, but they've all got a number of ways to run into trouble. Snipers, shields, tazers, the whole spread of enemies get into your face. And the game is pretty damn difficult, sometimes to the point of massive frustration. Why keep playing then?

Must be the money.

Left 4 Dead (and Left 4 Dead 2)

What's funny is I didn't initially care for this game very much, and I think the reason is that I was playing single-player. It's still decent, and as you get the hang of it (aka learn to start knocking back the zombies), it's much better. But it really shines when you play co-operatively with friends. The apex of this experience is when you face the Tank. The music gets dramatic, the screen shakes, and chunks of rock come flying at you from across the map. Every time I fight a tank, I feel like I'm in Return of the King, tossing spears and firing arrows at an elephant (you can call it an oliphaunt if you want). "Take him down! Take him down!" I may or may not shout that when I'm playing.


"A 2D builder game had you panicking, Joe?" You'd better believe it. Not at first, though. At first, it was a pretty pleasant experience, obviously with its enemies and challenges, but generally a mellow kind of game.

Enter GP James.

As soon as he started playing, the game had a whole different feel. He pressed us to make an adventure of the experience. We all pushed the envelope, teaming up to delve deeper than we had. And oh, by the way, to release all water. But not in safe little stages, no sir. He'd hop on the server while I was merrily mining away, join up on Skype chat, and then without warning...

"Release the river!"

Several drownings later, I had to agree that the constant danger made the game more fun. It's the most pure proof I've found of the article's point, that if you take a game that's safe, and make it not safe, it's better.

Game on, everybody.

1 comment:

James Winovich said...

best article on the blog bro!

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