Video Games for Architecture and Design
January 12, 2018 10:38 PM   Subscribe

 
I wonder if that NES prototype cart had any extra RAM, the 2 KiB the NES comes with seems...insufficient for Sim City.
posted by genpfault at 2:14 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


This is alarmingly relevant to my interests.
posted by LMGM at 5:10 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


@genpfault extra RAM would mean a higher cartridge production cost. Looks like it struggles with calculations, so maybe that's why it was never released?


posted by JindoFox at 5:26 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Maybe add BioShock as a negative example? Haha.
posted by glonous keming at 5:32 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I'd throw Dishonored 1 & 2 into this mix. Dishonored 2 in particular. The Clockwork Mansion is beautiful and fascinating to play through. Gamasutra did a deep-dive on that level, which is worth checking out. *contains spoilers*
posted by Fizz at 6:54 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


It's kind of a weird list, a mix of "games that explore architecture and design as gameplay elements" vs "games with some good design". For the latter I feel like one of the earlier Assassin's Creed games deserves a nod. Not sure which, but the experience of exploring a detailed and accurate simulation of an architectural treasure like the Sistine Chapel by climbing around inside it is pretty great.
posted by Nelson at 7:36 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


It is a weird list and I find that the ones that just have good design don't interest me, whereas the ones where you can play with the design/architecture are more interesting to me. So, there's a couple that sound good but I can't tell if I can play on my Mac laptop because the blurb says something like "iOS and Android" and I don't have devices with either of those. Hmmm.
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:33 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


From the Editor's note, "This post was originally published in April 2017 and has been updated with the most recent information." Super Mario Odyssey and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp are the two titles released during that time, and are also the two with the weakest connection to the theme, in my opinion.

Something like Assassin's Creed or Mirror's Edge gets you to experience the architecture in a way other than you normally would. (Unless you are a free-runner / assassin in real life.) Something I read years ago made an analogy between skateboarding and cruising for sex, in that both were re-purposing the existing architecture for their own purposes. And so, it transforms the architecture through the way that you interpret it. Games can do the same thing, based on what abilities it grants the player.
posted by RobotHero at 8:49 AM on January 13


I wonder if that NES prototype cart had any extra RAM, the 2 KiB the NES comes with seems...insufficient for Sim City.

NES SimCity likely uses the MMC5 mapper chip, which was also used in other more advanced NES titles like Castlevania 3. The MMC5 can contain an whopping 64KB of extra RAM.
posted by zsazsa at 9:43 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Something like Assassin's Creed or Mirror's Edge gets you to experience the architecture in a way other than you normally would.

I'm interested in the new Assasin's Creed: Origins 'Discovery Tour' mode which will remove combat from the game and essentially turn it into a walking/running simulator with educational/museum facts.

Less so for the facts themselves (cool as that is) but just being able to live in that space without fear of being attacked, to just walk around and jump and move will be fascinating. Being able to "play" on the buildings/architecture is a big part of this excitement for me.
posted by Fizz at 9:57 AM on January 13


I REALLY wish articles like this would just add something like (PC/Android/IOS) or something at the end of the blurb, so people like me with limited platform choices wouldn't waste their time looking for titles they really can't use and I really don't think asking the reader to watch all the videos is fair, as, you know, there's a whole written blurb about the game RIGHT FREAKING THERE!
posted by Samizdata at 12:24 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I was actually at that MAGFest talk where Frank Cifaldi presented the Sim City prototype, it was a really interesting talk in general about unreleased NES Games, and Frank is a great presenter
posted by JZig at 1:43 PM on January 13


Planet Coaster and/or RCT 1, 2, 3.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 2:01 PM on January 13


I’d add Kentucky Route Zero, with its excellent atmosphere and tributes to Gottfried Bohm.
posted by hilberseimer at 2:33 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


> Monkey0nCrack:
"Planet Coaster and/or RCT 1, 2, 3."

RCT?
posted by Samizdata at 5:42 PM on January 13


RCT?

Roller Coaster Tycoon
posted by Kelrichen at 7:06 PM on January 13


> Kentucky Route Zero

I'll second that. Actually expected it.
posted by lkc at 11:18 PM on January 13


One thing that stuck out to me architecture-wise in Gone Home is they've got these giant doors that are double-hinged. It's kind of an uncanny valley effect, that if it was a more fantastical environment, it wouldn't stand out, and I wouldn't have all these common-place items as reference for scale to make the doors seem strange.

But it's one little detail where it doesn't feel like something designed as a house for people to live it, but instead as something designed for a first-person controller to move around in.
posted by RobotHero at 11:28 AM on January 14


No ICO, this list is invalid.
posted by subdee at 12:07 PM on January 14


The Souls series is my benchmark for explorative geospatially interesting architecture/design. Nearly everyone who's played and finished those games could construct accurate mental maps of their entire worlds, I bet. That in itself is fascinating to ponder.
posted by naju at 3:55 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


> For the latter I feel like one of the earlier Assassin's Creed games deserves a nod. Not sure which, but the experience of exploring a detailed and accurate simulation of an architectural treasure like the Sistine Chapel by climbing around inside it is pretty great.

I read a thread on Twitter a while back about a parent who brought their kid to Italy on a work trip. The adults were lost, but the kid had played Assassin's Creed and was able to lead them where they were going. The kid had internalized the layout of the city just by playing the game! I wish I could find it again so I could link it here (stupid useless Twitter search)…
posted by panic at 4:32 PM on January 14


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