[stella] modern video games, was Re: VBLANK or VSYNC first?

Subject: [stella] modern video games, was Re: VBLANK or VSYNC first?
From: jim crawford <pfister_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 17:59:20 -0700
At 06:40 PM 10/23/01 -0700, Roger Williams wrote:
>Modern games aren't games.  They are mini-movies where the price
>of admission includes the requirement that you solve a Chinese
>puzzle box.

May I suggest playing some Zelda or Mario 64 instead of
Squaresoft's latest 60-hour cutscene?

>I won't even ask how many of those modern "great" games
>would fit in a 16K set of ROMs...

I swear, it IS possible to use the multiple megabytes of storage
on a CD-ROM (or cartridge) for something other than full-motion

One element of gameplay that's I haven't seen done well on the
Atari 2600 is *exploration*.  You can see almost all of any Atari
2600 game within minutes of plugging it into your console.  Even
in games like Adventure, the world is more like part of the
game's rule set, which you learn quickly and get better at
exploiting over time... change the world and you've changed the
game substantially.

In Super Mario 64, the world is where the game *takes place*.
You could swap out some of the levels for other levels, and
it would essentially be the same game.  The point being you can
be driven to play more not just by addictive gameplay but by
the promise of being able to experience more content.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, though if content is all
your game has to offer, it does limit replayability.

I didn't choose Super Mario 64 as an example at random, though.
The simple act of making mario run and jump (and slide and dive
and swim and tiptoe) around the castle grounds is exhilarating
in and of itself, and the content simply adds to the
experience.  I can't say that about any other 3d-platformer
I've played.

But I think it bears repeating that focussing on content
rather than gameplay is not necessarily a bad thing.  Check
out Infocom or Lucasarts adventure games sometime.

Jim Crawford

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