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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGeneralI like the way you move
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« on: July 04, 2007, 05:26:08 PM »

There's a game that I really like. It's called Mario 64. I'm about to tell you why I really like it.

Mario 64 isn't exactly a Mario game. Well, it is, but it isn't. It's more like a giant playground. There are things to jump on, slide on, run into, bounce off of, and generally play on. Sometimes you will shimmy up poles, but if you're impatient you'll wall jump. Sometimes you will dash over tight ropes, but if you're scared you'll crawl. You can play how you want sometimes, but sometimes you play how he wants you to. It's fun and interesting and generally a good game.

The triple jump is a fantastic invention. It really just feels good to do. Running and jumping and jumping and jumping. It even sounds good. And the buttstomp makes it fun, too.

The really neat thing is that Mario wasn't the first game to do this, nor is it the last. Nor is it even in the same genre as those other games. Arguably Tomb Raider is a Mario 64 clone before it was even possible to make Mario 64 clones. Arguably Zelda: OoT is a sequel. Shadow of the Colossus feels a little like Mario. And I think I feel a little of the same when I play Outrun 2. In a way Katamari Damaschi is a Mario 64 game, even if it is in no way a Mario game. And even Quake with rocket jumping is a Mario 64 game...

But Quake without rocket jumping is not.

See the thing I'm getting at isn't just moving in different ways. A game like Blackthorne does this, and it's good at it. And it's not about just being 3D; there are a ton of games that do that and aren't Mario 64 type games. It's about moving in different ways on different paths in a big world.

If what separates games from film is that we are active participants, then letting us actively participate on something so simple as moving from one place to the next is core to what a game is. When I play Zelda I roll until I either get tired of pressing the roll button or hearing those yelps from Link. But I friggin love it anyways.

I guess this thread wouldn't be bad as a list thread about games with interesting movement options. But knowing this forum I think I'll lay out some guidelines.

  • List any game that has an interesting system of movement that feels good just to move
  • Discuss what it makes you feel when you move in that game
  • There are enough games that fit this categorization, so please don't list games with "Lock & Load" mechanics like RPGs with haste potions.
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2007, 05:31:02 PM »

Of note, there's an article in Game Programming Gems #1 about Mario 64 control scheme.  It's a good read.

But yeah, there's a few of us that are a little kooky about a rope platformer for the SNES and Playstation called Umihara Kawase.  It moves like most standard 2D platformers, but there's this funky rope that bends around scenery, and you can use to propel yourself.  Pretty cool.
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2007, 05:33:23 PM »

I'd read it, but it's kind of expensive to get. I wonder if local libraries would have stuff like this.

By the way, I'll start with one. Aquaria. Oh ho ho.

(Derek you don't have to talk about Aquaria, but I'll be damned if I don't try to pressure you with this thread)
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2007, 05:38:19 PM »

Aquaria's like flying a tie fighter underwater.

According to some very misinformed Mac Games podcast.
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« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2007, 05:53:14 PM »

actually, its more like driving a schoolbus with trackball, in lava.

ill say something smart about the act of moving through a world later.
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sega
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« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2007, 05:59:50 PM »

Since Shadow of the Colossus was mentioned, I want to add that I think it's really cool that when you ride a horse in that game, you still feel like you're controlling the guy on the horse, instead switching to controlling the horse directly.  Character control is not broken.
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« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2007, 06:51:14 PM »

Since Shadow of the Colossus was mentioned, I want to add that I think it's really cool that when you ride a horse in that game, you still feel like you're controlling the guy on the horse, instead switching to controlling the horse directly.  Character control is not broken.

a lot of people fucking hated that with a passion and really just saw it as bad controls.
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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2007, 07:02:20 PM »

I understand that, in videogame world, riding a horse is like driving a car, but here in meat-space, living horses won't jump off cliffs even if you tell them to.

I appreciated that the horse had some facility for steering itself.
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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2007, 07:04:00 PM »

Since Shadow of the Colossus was mentioned, I want to add that I think it's really cool that when you ride a horse in that game, you still feel like you're controlling the guy on the horse, instead switching to controlling the horse directly.  Character control is not broken.

a lot of people fucking hated that with a passion and really just saw it as bad controls.

From what I heard most of the people on that game HAD to take a horseriding course. I never have ridden a horse, but friends who did said it is the most realistic feeling horse in any game they ever played. It has a mind of it's own but generally does what you want, you don't even have to force it particularly. Once you get the hang of it which is pretty quick it's ace I think.
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« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2007, 07:10:11 PM »

Oh man, I knew that if people starting talking about SotC we'd start talking about smaller, more focused types of movement. SotC is to Mario like Mario is to Sonic. I have a feeling I'm going to have to really dig into that game soon.
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« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2007, 07:16:41 PM »

From what I heard most of the people on that game HAD to take a horseriding course.

I remember some people had a hard time with Battlefield 1942, where the vehicles moved very different than the people.  Initially, many people had issues taking off and flying an air plane.  Then Battlefield Vietnam screwed with everybody more with helicopters.
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« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2007, 07:22:21 PM »

a lot of people fucking hated that with a passion and really just saw it as bad controls.

Yeah, that's true.  I think it's because it went against our grokked knowledge of how to play a videogame.  Games have built a language of interactivity over the decades.  In that language, you control the man for as long as that man's on foot.  As soon as the man gets in a vehicle, or onto an animal, control switches to that vehicle/animal.  The mind switches to the vehicle/animal, and away from the man. 

Shadow of the Colossus interrupted that transition.  The designers went through extra effort to keep the mind on the man in all instances.  Most people fought that design, and tried to force the transition where there was none.  It's understandable.  However, a lot of Shadow of the Colossus' design depended on your mind staying on that character.  I don't want to ruin the story for anyone, but it was important in that game to feel that the horse was separate from you.  That the horse was your companion, your friend.  If you controlled the horse directly, that feeling would diminish.

So, it wasn't as if the controls were sloppy, untested, broken, or unpolished.  They went through extra effort to design it that way.  This type of control, as with any interesting art, worked very well for some people, and turned others off.  I'm sure you know all of what I just said.  I just wanted to say that while people thought it was bad, I don't think one can see it as bad when looking at the full picture.  One can only see it as not of their taste.

It also applies to this thread because it shows the movement can feel very good for reasons outside of interactivity, which I think is interesting (I also mentioned in the Street Fighter thread how animation alone affected the perception of De Blob's controls).  It can reach into and affect story, and affect the emotional impact of events.  It also illustrates that much enjoyment can come from a game that uses grokked knowledge built on hundreds of other games, and if you break that too much, you run a great risk of being labeled as "bad".
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« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2007, 07:27:11 PM »

I don't know, Mario 64 has some of the most free + fun movement of any game. There really is nothing like it.

Mario Sunshine adds a few fun things to play with, but it doesn't really come together as effectively. (its still a joy to pick up and play around in the starting area though, much like M64's first area)

Can't think of another game that does that as well.

Now I miss my N64. Cry
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« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2007, 07:31:26 PM »

It can reach into and affect story, and affect the emotional impact of events.

So glad you mentioned this. It feels like there's so much talk in places about how gameplay is all that matters in the end. But to me it feels like the fusion of all the elements of a game is what makes it succeed or fail. Part of the artistry unique to games is how all those different elements work together. (or against each other)
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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2007, 07:45:13 PM »

I don't know, Mario 64 has some of the most free + fun movement of any game. There really is nothing like it.

Yeah, I only mentioned the downside to the risk of breaking grokked knowledge, but only because that risk really is great.  I should have mentioned the upside too.  The thing is, if you offer a very different experience, and people don't hate it (big hurdle to get over), there's a great chance they'll love it more than they'll love a standard experience.

So glad you mentioned this. It feels like there's so much talk in places about how gameplay is all that matters in the end. But to me it feels like the fusion of all the elements of a game is what makes it succeed or fail. Part of the artistry unique to games is how all those different elements work together. (or against each other)

Oh yeah.  I don't know if you've gathered from my other posts, but I'm a strong believer in having the elements of a game helping the other elements out.  I think that can build a much stronger experience than focusing on building each element individually.  A game is greater than the sum of its parts.  You can have top quality art, top quality music, top quality level design, etc... yet still fall short.  It amazes me how some people can separate the elements as much as they do.

EDIT:
I also want to add, that MANY people talk about graphics and audio when they speak of "gameplay" and don't even know it.  The feeling they get when they play a game can be attributed to all kinds of things that enter in on a subconscious level. That's why I like to use the words "interaction", "level design", "movement", "learning curve", etc... instead of the all encompassing "gameplay".
« Last Edit: July 04, 2007, 08:51:57 PM by sega » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2007, 09:48:15 PM »

sega, I don't know if you know it, but you're talking like an artist.

HO SHIT!

By the way, this thread is going really well. I am going to throw a curveball and ask what you guys think of "Jetpack" games.
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« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2007, 11:58:53 PM »

May I assume that "HO SHIT!" means the same thing as "OH SNAP!"?

By the way, this thread is going really well. I am going to throw a curveball and ask what you guys think of "Jetpack" games.

hmm, I think you'll have to be more specific.  I like "jetpack" games like I like "car" games, "spaceship" games, and "foot" games.  It depends on the game.  It can be good or bad.  The "jetpack" game I probably played the most was Armored Core.  That game used every button available, and did not feel good to control until you mastered everything there was about movement.

I don't have anything against controlling a character wearing a jetpack, but I don't believe I've ever orgasmed from jetpacking either.  Like I said earlier, there's a lot of things involved in making movement feel good.  So I think you might have to bring up a specific game or design.  The only thing inherent to jetpacks, is that the character moves up when accelerating, and gravity pulls down when not.  Nothing inherently good or bad about that.  It's all about execution.  Same goes for driving, swimming, or jumping.
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« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2007, 12:10:13 AM »

"Jetpack" makes me think of SNES Pilotwings, which had some interesting control. I remember as a kid not being able to control the plane AT ALL. Which made it feel a bit like I was flying a real plane, which I would likely also crash into the ground often.



I think we had the most fun with the rocket belt parts ... they really felt scary, especially trying to land on the moving bonus platform while risking falling in the water. There was a real freaky sense of inertia.

I think I always found the weird mix of laid back music with the beepy warning sound to be really disconcerting. Like the character is trying to keep it together, but partially losing it.
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« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2007, 12:59:41 AM »

You know, I still haven't played Pilotwings for more than 5 minutes total.  I played it once when my friend first got the SNES, and never again.  It always looked fun though.  Did you play Pilotwings 64?  How did that stack up to the SNES game?  That sounds cool about the music and sound effects.  I should fire up an emulator and check that out.
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« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2007, 01:15:05 AM »

Man, I loved PilotWings back in the day. My brother and I didn't get to play games for long at home, because our parents were concerned about it. I think it started out so that we'd have a 15 minute limit each per day. (so if we combined our 15 minutes, we'd get a half hour) It made playing games like FF6 together a lot of fun, because we'd have to work really hard to get to the next save point before our 30 minutes ran out.

In any case, our neighbor + friend's parents were slack on the video game regulation, so we'd go over there to play games. He had PilotWings, Star Fox... 3 player Bomberman was the best though.

Anyways, I did play Pilotwings 64 a bit when it first came out. I remember being disappointed in how it felt a bit over done, like there was too much going on at once, whereas the first game was more pure and focused. But I really want to try it again and see what I think, I haven't played it in years.
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