Friday, February 4, 2011

Nostalgia for cruel and unusual game design


Sometimes I get an itch for some of that cruel and unusual game design of the late eighties. Like how shooters like Gradius or R-Type get progressively more difficult while you collect power-ups to be able to handle that increase in difficulty. But then when you die (and you will) you lose all those power-ups, instantaneously making the game unplayable. It doesn't matter how many extra lives or continues you have saved up, all you can do is push the reset button.

To add to this highly problematic game design, most of these games aren't primarily reaction based, they are memorization based requiring you to play the same level over and over again. You might feel like you are getting better at the game but what you are really doing is just memorizing enemy placements and patterns. So when you get to a new level it's like jamming your head straight in to a rock wall. This combination of memorization and de facto one life game play is intriguingly sadistic.

Me being a very troubled individual I went to the Wii Virtual Console last night looking for just this kind of abuse.

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