[INSERT PRINCE REFERENCE HERE]
January 23, 2012 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Irrational Games' creative director Ken Levine wants you to meet BioShock: Infinite's new difficulty: 1999 Mode.
posted by griphus (85 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I am old.
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd like to see them announce 1989 mode, where you have to beat the game in one sitting and if your mother trips over the power plug, that's it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:42 AM on January 23, 2012 [46 favorites]


In the past, I've waited for BioShock games to drop to $5 on Steam sales before buying.

That may not be the case with Infinite.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:42 AM on January 23, 2012


"We took that barely interactive movie you loved and made it in to a pseudo-game... and get this... it's retro."

*Ken Levine leans real far back in his desk chair, smirks, and takes a long noisy sip on a Juicy Juice box*
posted by codacorolla at 10:43 AM on January 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


The 1999 Mode article is full of this self congratulating machismo that kind of alienates me a little bit, even though I might be the target audience.

I'm of two minds about game difficult:

1) I'm an adult, and spending an hour on a single fight is time consuming. When I've only got a couple hours a week to play a game, I'd like to be able to get past the first room in that time.

2) Challenge is fun.

My concern about difficulty in most games is that it doesn't make the games more challenging, it just makes the harder. Instead of one headshot to kill an opponent, you need three, but it's still a grind. Maybe they corrected this! It sounds promising from the article. Bioshock's infinite resurrection, consequence free gaming was part of what made it so dull.

Challenge should make games fun, not slow. If that's what they've managed, then I'll love the game.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:47 AM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


BioShock Infinite's standard modes are crafted with today's more relaxed game in mind. Health and ammo are relatively easy to find, resurrection is a regular occurrence, and selecting one skill over the other won't necessarily cripple you in other areas.

Kids today.
posted by DU at 10:47 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


A gaming thread? Cool. Here's Command and Conquer in HTML5.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:49 AM on January 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


Bioshock didn't feel too bad for me, by modern game standards, till near the end where it just hands you enough resources to max out on everything. That said, I treated dead as dead and didn't bother with the vita-chamber nonsense. Well... I used saved games, I'm not a total masochist.
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on January 23, 2012


I was impressed until I got to this:

"Players have gotten so used to dying and getting rezzed that they'll use it as a strategy, running in taking out a few enemies, dying, and coming right back," Levine said. "In 1999 mode if you keep charging your resources to come back, be prepared to load a save game."

That really should be "be prepared to start the game over from scratch." That's what I had to do when my hundred-hour Moria games went down the drain.
posted by dfan at 10:56 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. Awesome
2. No way I'd play that mode.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:57 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've been enjoying keithburgun's posts on his game design philosophy over at the Dinofarm Games site. Here are some links that seem applicable, in chronological order of their posting:

"Retro" is not the answer

Game Hurt Stories, Stories Hurt Games

On RPGs

Bonus Lulz
posted by adamdschneider at 10:58 AM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


That really should be "be prepared to start the game over from scratch." That's what I had to do when my hundred-hour Moria games went down the drain.

Different kind of game there, and from a different era. 1999 is Half Life and Deus Ex. Or, as the 1999 movie The Matrix says, the height of human civilization.
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking as someone who had to backtrack all the way from Operations to Engineering, spending over six hours to find the ONE anti toxin hypo I hadn't already used, so I could bring it all the way back to Operations to get through this one bit without dying, even though I swore, after finally getting that thrice- damned elevator to work, that I would rather die than grind through those fucking Engineering tunnels again, I am super fucking stoked about this.

All games should be System Shock II.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:59 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stagger Lee: What I'm getting from the article is that the game will require actual tactics and planning from the player in order to succeed; limited resurrections, locking the player into a single type of weapon that'll be effective against challenging areas, etc. isn't so much the difference between one headshot to kill an enemy versus three headshots, as it is the difference between needing a headshot at all versus being able to run at the monster firing wildly without serious risk of losing. It takes longer, but it's also way more rewarding (to me, at least) to have to find a perch, make your way there safely and line up that perfect shot.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:01 AM on January 23, 2012


I'd like to see them announce 1989 mode, where you have to beat the game in one sitting and if your mother trips over the power plug, that's it.

I'm from 1979 and what do you mean by "beat the game"?
posted by griphus at 11:01 AM on January 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


Not dealing with save games in a lot of modern games is pretty freeing.

Back when Max Payne came out I would obsessively play over every encounter trying to minimize the damage I took and the ammunition I used because both health and bullets were limited.

There has to be a good balance that makes a game challenging, but not have annoying mechanics.
posted by ODiV at 11:01 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Different kind of game there, and from a different era.

True enough, that's really 1989 mode. (And I admit that I worked on a 1992 game that included an automatic-resurrection mechanic. We were pretty ambivalent about it though.)
posted by dfan at 11:02 AM on January 23, 2012


Anyone get the impression from all the hubs in Bioshock that it was originally intended as a less linear, more RPG like experience and they scaled back?
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


One weird thing about returning to shooters and action-RPGs after avoiding them for , oh a good decade and change, is having to unlearn all my old-school instincts cause otherwise the game will take forever
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bioshock: nethack
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:03 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]



From TFA :
n Rainbow Six you died so quickly — just one bullet could kill you. There was an incredible tension to it, making me so nervous about rounding every corner."
No doubt. RB6 was on of the hardest games I've ever played, and it was a such a sense of accomplishment to beat it. The original Operation Flaspoint was similar - except you got one save per mission, but again, the tension was amazing.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:05 AM on January 23, 2012


Oh, and for fans of old-school difficulty, there's also Hard Reset.
posted by griphus at 11:07 AM on January 23, 2012


1999 is Half Life and Deus Ex

Half Life was 1998, actually. 1998 was a goddamn goldmine year for seminal games: Ocarina of Time, StarCraft, Metal Gear Solid, Grim Fandango, Half-Life, Thief, Baldur's Gate, Unreal, Xenogears.

If only I could have been a kid back then. Oh wait, I was. I just didn't have anything to game on.
posted by kmz at 11:15 AM on January 23, 2012


Rainbow Six made me into a fully legit crazy person one winter.
posted by elizardbits at 11:16 AM on January 23, 2012


I used to be able to play FPS games, but somewhere in my thirties something changed inside me, and when I finally got around to playing BioShock -- that's the original, mind -- last year, I didn't make it past the first few levels because it scared the living fuck right out of me.

I don't know how or when it happened, but at some point when I wasn't gaming much, something in my brain chemistry altered where I get creeped out by games super easy.

Now I play Terraria in my spare (very scarce) gaming time. Civ V. Warhammer 40K.

I can't begin to imagine what an actually horrifying horror game would do to me.
posted by Shepherd at 11:17 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Speaking of one-hit deaths, Bushido Blade is awesome.
posted by ODiV at 11:17 AM on January 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh wait, I was. I just didn't have anything to game on.

With a standard low-cost PC, a steam sale, $20 and a little imagination you too can experience what it would have been like having the best gaming rig in the world back then...
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on January 23, 2012


Oh, man, I remember playing System Shock 2, alt-tabbing out of it every fifteen minutes because spiders and zombies and BABIES NEED FRESH MEAT
posted by griphus at 11:18 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know how or when it happened, but at some point when I wasn't gaming much, something in my brain chemistry altered where I get creeped out by games super easy.

Dude, the original Bioshock is super fucking creepy. I still want to try to finish the game one day but I haven't gone back because I'd already gotten through several sections when my XBox got stolen, and I don't want to redo those sections. The first person aspect definitely contributes to the creepy factor, but there's plenty of non-scary FPS games.
posted by kmz at 11:20 AM on January 23, 2012


I don't know how or when it happened, but at some point when I wasn't gaming much, something in my brain chemistry altered where I get creeped out by games super easy.

You should play Stalker! I was all set to curse the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. spelling because I didn't think it was an acronym, but Wikipedia informs me that I am wrong. On the other hand, did Gamestop just make that up or what?
posted by adamdschneider at 11:21 AM on January 23, 2012


It's done a lot better than certain other games, which are all "HERE'S SOME TODD MCFARLANE FIGURINE GORE SHIT*! WOO WOO!" in your face all the time...

* Creepy kid from The Ring also acceptable.
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on January 23, 2012


Speaking of one-hit deaths, Bushido Blade is awesome.

Bushido Blade is now and ever shall be the best fighting game ever. If they remade it every five years, changing nothing about the gameplay and merely updating the graphics, I would buy it every single time.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:22 AM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Since when did thinking really hard count as a separate game mode?
posted by Meathamper at 11:26 AM on January 23, 2012


With a standard low-cost PC, a steam sale, $20 and a little imagination you too can experience what it would have been like having the best gaming rig in the world back then...

Oh, I know. Now that I'm regularly booting into Windows to play SWTOR, I'm starting to build a nice library of older/non-graphics intensive PC games to play.
posted by kmz at 11:28 AM on January 23, 2012


Syndicate was just put up for sale on GoG.
posted by ODiV at 11:32 AM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Shepherd: I'd recommend Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but then that'd be mean.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:54 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


(And I admit that I worked on a 1992 game that included an automatic-resurrection mechanic. We were pretty ambivalent about it though.)

Please tell me that was Ecco the Dolphin. I loved that game, and thought the auto-resurrection was a huge advance.
posted by Urtylug at 12:02 PM on January 23, 2012


I am unafraid.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:09 PM on January 23, 2012


I have an overwhelming urge to go play more Super Meat Boy right now. The best part of the game is the unlimited lives, and watching how your 150 poor little unsuccessful Meat Boys met their demise while the final one actually succeeds on the replay.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:12 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]



Oh wait, I was. I just didn't have anything to game on.

The games must have been good. It's the only way I can explain overclocking a 486 and playing otherwise good games through rivers of lag, with the graphics cranked down and the sound off, on a monitor with the viewable area reduced to the size of a postage stamp.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:31 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since when did thinking really hard count as a separate game mode?

Thinking really hard is not really all that is required at a higher difficulty level in a shooter. If you were talking about a turn-based game, a harder difficulty equates pretty well to thinking really hard, but scoring headshots is a completely separate other thing (which I happen to be awful at).
posted by juv3nal at 12:40 PM on January 23, 2012


"This is for the hardcore. They're the only ones that will understand why it's cool."

Also, smoking is for adults. And if you're too young, it's against the law.
posted by straight at 1:25 PM on January 23, 2012


Oh man, I can't wait to play Ken Levine's next masterpiece. A triumph of creativity and imagination. A nice meaty game that I can sink my fully adult teeth in to. No more child games for me, I finally get to play a game that's about the wikipedia entry for "American Politics". Thank you Ken Levine, thank you.
posted by codacorolla at 1:38 PM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I played video games in 1999, and you sir are not offering any of the things I loved about games in 1999 that Bioshock lacked.
posted by straight at 1:44 PM on January 23, 2012


tl;dr: Harder games are more satisfying to play.

I almost always turn up the difficulty in games to the hardest setting available because I believe the extra challenge makes the game more enjoyable. Before I started this practice, I would almost always find myself getting bored with the last couple chapters of a game due to character progression and my own personal skill outpacing the difficulty curve of the game. It's way more fun to scramble and claw your way through the endgame, resource-starved and low on health than it is to waltz through the last 3 hours of a game just to see how the story ends.

I think this only works when there is a certain degree of depth to the game design. There has to be a sufficiently deep "bag of tricks" provided to the player such that playing at a higher difficulty level doesn't just mean twitching faster, but also having a better handle on the game mechanics and thinking more creatively. I think the problem with the difficulties in modern games is that players never need to really dig into that bag of tricks on the default difficulty. Players can play through BioShock as an old-shool shooter, Batman: Arkham City/Asylum as a button-mashing brawler, or Mass Effect 2 as if it were... Gears of War. Once you turn up the difficulty, however, you are quickly shown that there is an entirely different game here. Learning that game, the one where you freeze splicers with a plasmid and then shatter them with a wrench, where you make Batman into a terrifying, untouchable badass by setting traps and properly timing your button presses, or where you select your ME2 squad mates so that you can combine their powers to the greatest effect, that game is the one that I love playing so much.

Of course, more difficulty doesn't always equal a more satisfying experience. Sometimes a better understanding of the game is a *bad* thing. I absolutely hated about 90% of the time I spent playing Modern Warfare 2 on Veteran and only finished the game on that difficulty out of sheer stubbornness. Playing through a game like that on the hardest difficulty seems to highlight all of the game's flaws. There is always a guy behind that desk. That doorway is a monster closet that will endlessly spawn Russian soldiers until you get halfway down the hall. You can't walk that way because the game is only scripted for you to go the other way, so you will instantly die. Ugh. I think the difference here is that instead of learning more about the systems created by the developers as part of the intended gameplay experience, turning up the difficulty in this instance results in the game constantly showing you the man behind the curtain, teaching you immersion-breaking details about the nuts and bolts of the game.

Here's to hoping that 1999 Mode is Type A hard and not Type B hard.
posted by strangecargo at 1:46 PM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


And here I thought it was going to be a Space:1999 mode.
posted by aught at 1:46 PM on January 23, 2012


I played the second Bioshock (underrated and undeservedly slagged) with Vita chambers turned off and enjoyed it much more than the first one. I know you could turn them off in the first one but I didn't realize either that you could or the effect they were having on my approach until it was too late.

I wish people wouldn't perceive talk of greater difficulty as some combination of braggadocio and machismo. It has nothing to do with thinking I'm good ... it has to do with two separate, important things.

One is that I only learn as much from a system as it forces me to, and Batman: Arkham Asylum was the perfect example of this. The combat system in that game was really deep and interesting, and I finished the game thinking only that it was vaguely neat. It was only trying to get the gold medals in the challenge rooms that I realized it had loads and loads of depth. Bioshock was like that, in like the ammo-conserving things you could do like lighting bottles of booze and using them as cocktails - which I read about but never needed to do. My ammo was never low enough to bother. Ratcheting up the difficulty makes me explore the little nooks and crannies of the system that I'd otherwise never bother with.

The other is that the whole fun for me is from triumphing while against the ropes. I love being hurt, and I love being low on ammo, and then pulling off something neat. That's the whole fun for me, that elastic-band action between being periods of scarcity and abundance.

It's nothing like, "Oh I'm so tough, I beat it on hard, aren't you impressed?"
posted by neuromodulator at 1:49 PM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


@neuromodulator: my thoughts exactly.
posted by strangecargo at 1:51 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Strangecargo read my mind on like every front. Good games are like a pool, and you can just swim across some and see all the parts of the game and be satisfied, or you can dive down and realize there's a whole world down there, too. The thing is, I can't make myself dive down without the existence of a difficulty incentive.

on preview: stop doing that!
posted by neuromodulator at 1:52 PM on January 23, 2012


And here I thought it was going to be a Space:1999 mode.

SPACE!
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on January 23, 2012


Halo was the last game I tried to show who was boss, and I finally did it. I never showed Nihilanth who was boss before my shit home-made system crashed and died on me. :( And I don't have the patience for that now. But kudos to him for doing this. Though I'm not sure why you can't have a mix of "permanent" choices while still having a not as hardcore game?
posted by symbioid at 2:02 PM on January 23, 2012


(also the summon security bot plasmid was pretty much game-breaking)
posted by neuromodulator at 2:08 PM on January 23, 2012


Syndicate was just put up for sale on GoG.

ODiv, I could kiss you! :)
posted by drewbage1847 at 2:12 PM on January 23, 2012


This game can't have a helluva lot going for it if Irrational are issuing press releases to tell people that they have implemented a higher level of difficulty on the Start menu.

I await their next PR move: "You know the gamma bar under Settings? Ours goes fuckin' way over to the left. Makes the game dark, I'll tell you."

Gamers from 1967 are gonna be all "Oh hey awesome that's like when I used to play video games, just sitting in front of a turned-off television when Bonanza finished."

SECRET UNLOCK: UPSIDE-DOWN MODE
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:21 PM on January 23, 2012


...implemented a higher level of difficulty on the Start menu.

Good thing they're hiding it as an unlockable then!
posted by griphus at 2:29 PM on January 23, 2012


For reals? So you don't even get to decide to play it hardcore to begin with, you gotta play it some other way first? How horrifyingly tedious.
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:41 PM on January 23, 2012


My one hope is that the sound design in the 1999 mode will be as good as system shock II's. That still is the scariest game I have ever played. It didn't have stuff jump out at you that much (not in the same way Dead Space or Bioshock did), but the sound, dead god the sound. And the weapon decay bug that made your weapons fall apart faster than they meant them too. Hearing the spider hiss, realizing your pistol was at level 3 and you were running low on bullets, well, I got cold sweats from playing that game on regular.

I never had the guts to play it on hard.
posted by Hactar at 2:52 PM on January 23, 2012


I found myself saving literally every 2 minutes in Deus Ex: HR, which TOTALLY encouraged the wrong behavior: try stupid shit just to see what would happen, or play carelessly and lose, and restart over and over from three minutes ago.

There wasn't any real punishment there, so things like the conversations and such, you could pick the wrong option and then just reload and go again, until you found the optimal approach.

The fact that the game let me do that was obnoxious because I would constantly try to optimize my approach to the game.

Compare and contrast to the original Police Quest, for instance.

Police Quest had 10 save slots. That was a challenge in and of itself. But what was truly evil was that the game would basically drop you into somewhere past a point of no return (a drug bust gone bad) and inform you only THEN that WHY DIDN'T YOU GRAB YOUR RADIO FROM THE STATION, jackass?

Oh, what's that? The farthest save back is 10 minutes ago? GUESS YOU'RE STARTING OVER.

YES I'M SERIOUS. THAT WILL TEACH YOU TO STEAL THE GAME SO YOU DON'T HAVE THE MANUAL WHICH WARNS YOU TO PERFORM A PRESCRIBED INSPECTION OF YOUR VEHICLE BEFORE STARTING OUT ON THE ROAD! (Another sticking point which the developers included as a "fuck you" to pirates: if you didn't do this, you would die immediately, about 15 minutes into the game, and have to restart.)

That game required STRATEGIC saves, which I thought was very clever, by "gating" them: since you didn't know how far back you might have to reach, you would keep staggered saves as carefully as possible. Overall, this would infuriate most users, primarily because it feels like the game is shouting GOTCHA DOUCHEBAG, and that's just your own damn fault, but it certainly made things interesting, and much more rewarding if you made it through it all.

"Saves" meant something, then.
posted by disillusioned at 2:53 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, conversations in games. One thing I definitely like about Star Wars: the Old Republic, is that being an MMO there's no going back in conversations. I found myself confronted with a choice that I would have had no problem making in a game I could reload ("I just need your hand.") and staring at it for a full minute because I couldn't decide which to choose! Awesome.

Even if keithburgun thinks MMOs aren't games, which I may or may not agree with.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:08 PM on January 23, 2012


@adamschneider

this current "no-story" fad in games is bumming me out

'interactive fiction' what's that
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:12 PM on January 23, 2012


In the past, I've waited for BioShock games to drop to $5 on Steam sales before buying.

By "BioShock" games, you must mean BioShock 2. Because you'd have bought the first one on the first day on principle.
posted by Soup at 3:23 PM on January 23, 2012


When the first one came out I had a computer that would melt if a polygon looked at it funny.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:01 PM on January 23, 2012


Dead Space 2 has a hardcore mode that only allows 3 saves over the course of the entire ~10 hour campaign. The reward is the best weapon in the game - a giant foam finger that makes "pew pew" noises - so, obviously, I had to have it. Aside from it being frustratingly hard, you can't skip any of the cutscenes. After watching the five minute intro a half-dozen times I wanted to stab myself in the ears.

My point is, 1999 Mode had better let you skip the cutscenes.
posted by Sibrax at 4:24 PM on January 23, 2012


I thought the best balanced difficulty level on a recent game was Nightmare mode on Dragon Age II. Yeah, yeah, the game had other problems. But the difficulty of nightmare mode was just about perfect.
posted by Justinian at 4:37 PM on January 23, 2012


I found myself saving literally every 2 minutes in Deus Ex: HR, which TOTALLY encouraged the wrong behavior: try stupid shit just to see what would happen, or play carelessly and lose, and restart over and over from three minutes ago.

Why is this the wrong behavior? Why wouldn't you want to try all kinds of things at a given decision moment to see what happens? Irrevocability is a game feature that makes sense in some contexts and not in others, just like quick-saving makes sense in some games and not in others. Being good at a difficult thing is one hallmark of being "hardcore", but so is exploring the full range and depth of the game at hand, and they're neither opposed nor is one a superior quality. There's no such thing as playing a single-player game "wrong".

Overall, this would infuriate most users, primarily because it feels like the game is shouting GOTCHA DOUCHEBAG

This is not good design, although a minority of people do seem to like it very much. One of the worst features of old adventure games was the "go left or right, one kills you instantly" choice branching. Demon/Dark Souls is so interesting because it is brutally difficult, but running into that difficulty is part of the game and in fact dying is necessary to see what the game is about. It's one thing to be difficult, it's another to go backwards. Difficulty without depth is arbitrary punishment, and if the point of overcoming an obstacle is simply to say, "well, that's not there anymore", that's not really good enough.

What games need to do in order to justify their difficulty is to be training you constantly. This part is difficult until you learn how to do this thing, at which point you have that skill now and a new challenge awaits. Games are largely instruction and repetition, and it's the combination of the two that make them interesting. Lose either one and the other gets old pretty fast.

I think games in general could be a lot harder than they are without alienating people, but I don't think that attempting to recreate strictures based on old technological limitations is the way to do it. I also don't think that you should have to play through the game once to "prove" that you're ready for the harder version, but I appear to be in the minority on that.

My one hope is that the sound design in the 1999 mode will be as good as system shock II's.

Sadly, it probably won't be. SS2 was built on the Dark engine, the same one that powered Thief, which was notorious for kind of shitty graphics but excellent audio features. That's pretty much what you want for a game in which you're crouching in utter darkness most of the time, listening for footsteps. I don't think the sound design in SS2 would have been nearly as good in a more graphically-powerful engine where audio wasn't its best feature, but I'm glad they ended up going that way, because the sound design really makes that game shine.

One thing I definitely like about Star Wars: the Old Republic, is that being an MMO there's no going back in conversations.

You can hit ESC during any conversation to abort the dialogue, and then you can start over if you want. Once you finish a conversation, it's locked in, but if you don't like a choice you made or a reaction you got, there's a window of time in which to undo it.
posted by Errant at 4:40 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Syndicate was just put up for sale on GoG.

SELECTED.
posted by Shepherd at 5:45 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's weird, Shepherd. Was that added sometime after I originally played it?

Why is this the wrong behavior?

Speaking only for myself I get really annoyed when it's not at all obvious what's crazy important vs. what's utterly inconsequential. Then I feel as though I have to maintain multiple, branching saves and the behavior described feels like a chore.
posted by ODiV at 5:54 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


System Shock II had brilliant story, gameplay and audio. I've been migrating that disc to different pcs for over a decade.
posted by ersatz at 6:23 PM on January 23, 2012


And here I thought it was going to be a Space:1999 mode.

Bioshock 4: The Moon.
The wizaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard!
posted by straight at 6:48 PM on January 23, 2012


I feel like modern games are basically "press X to win" affairs. the "push one of three buttons to select an ending cutscene" was especially bad.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:02 PM on January 23, 2012


oops. should have mentioned, that was in Deus Ex:HR.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:04 PM on January 23, 2012


Yeah, the end of Deus EX: HR was insulting considering it had mostly been a very good game to that point, some folks issues with the boss fights nonwithstanding.
posted by Justinian at 8:00 PM on January 23, 2012


You can hit ESC during any conversation to abort the dialogue, and then you can start over if you want. Once you finish a conversation, it's locked in, but if you don't like a choice you made or a reaction you got, there's a window of time in which to undo it.

Oh...that sucks.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:25 PM on January 23, 2012


Worked to pull me into Dark Souls. Guess I know what my next purchase will be.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:14 PM on January 23, 2012


Speaking only for myself I get really annoyed when it's not at all obvious what's crazy important vs. what's utterly inconsequential. Then I feel as though I have to maintain multiple, branching saves and the behavior described feels like a chore.

Yeah, this for the most part. I think that I definitely perceive it as a chore. I think there are games I wish were more forcefully deterministic: the decisions you make now impact your ability to play the game, but that's okay. From what I hear, this describes the Fable series.

I definitely agree that arbitrarily killing the player is poor game design. I don't know if I agree that the Police Quest approach was entirely out there: it forced you to be fastidious and think through things, because the consequences were so dire. It was also completely possible to avoid that fate if you were thinking ahead. Or had bought the game and read the manual...
posted by disillusioned at 10:52 PM on January 23, 2012


I'm bloody terrible at games. I found Bioshock too hard at Medium difficulty - although I didn't realise that you were supposed to use the rejuvenation chambers. I just reloaded every time I died, which was frequently.

After I while I decided this was daft, so I started the game again on easy. For the most part the game was pretty easy, although there were some tougher moments near the end. I then started again on medium and found it much easier this time, apart from the Big Daddies. Bioshock is one of those games where things are much easier if you just go about things the right way, and I only started learning this about halfway through the game.

I don't think 1999 mode is for me.
posted by salmacis at 2:55 AM on January 24, 2012


Firstly, Ken Levine is a huge 100 Rogues fan, which was my last game. In fact, I even wonder if maybe his liking of 100 Rogues got him to do this.

And our next game is called Auro: The Golden Prince, so when I saw this metafilter page come up in my Dinofarm Games site pingbacks, I got excited! :D

Anyhow, permadeath is good in that it means that "failure" is actually a possibility for the player. However, in a non-random game, permadeath is nothing but punishment, and losing in a game shouldn't include punishment. Losing is enough.

The non-random nature of these games is the underlying problem. Any single-player game NEEDS to be heavily random in order to have any replay value.
posted by keithburgun at 12:06 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm really looking forward to Auro.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:13 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any single-player game NEEDS to be heavily random in order to have any replay value.

Or the levels can be brief and offer chances to improve your performance each time like a racing game or a platformer level. Or it can give you a wide range of tactical options for each goal. Or it can have enemies with AI that makes their behavior different every time. Or the central game mechanic -- fluid movement, shooting, whatever -- can be so much fun and rewarding that players enjoy doing it over and over.

Bioshock really didn't really hit any of those for me, so the thought of making it harder so that I might have to repeat sections of the game just sounds tedious.

On the other hand, maybe the roller-coaster rail travel in Bioshock Infinite will be so fun that I'll want to ride it over and over and over? I hope so.
posted by straight at 1:27 PM on January 24, 2012


If all you game has going for it is a bunch of grind between plot-tokens, per this rather overlooked post, and those plot tokens are always the same, it's going to have zero replay value whatsoever.
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on January 24, 2012


Or the levels can be brief and offer chances to improve your performance each time like a racing game or a platformer level.

Speaking only for myself, this particular inducement is no inducement at all.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:23 PM on January 24, 2012


I find that sort of thing interesting only in as much as it encourages you to do things differently - for instance new game modes in Tower Defense games that encourage you to hit previously completed levels with all your newly learned optimization tricks.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on January 24, 2012


...per this rather overlooked post...

MetaFilter doesn't care about Raph Koster.
posted by griphus at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2012


Meh. He's still basically right about the role of narrative in games.
posted by Artw at 2:48 PM on January 24, 2012


Levine On… Bias, Trust, SWAT & Tennis
posted by Artw at 8:38 PM on January 24, 2012


« Older A Portrait in Postcards....  |  Arthur C. Clarke Award directo... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments