Mar 11, 2015
Babbling at the Counter #79 – Video Games
I've recently played the Test Subject saga. To recap, it's about a little blue slime created by a scientist, and the subject of a series of tests to analyze it. We play as the slime.
Now, this game does something I found awesome. Something more game designers should keep in mind when working on their games. So I wanted to bring that feature into the spotlight.
For the first two and one fifths of the games, your character is confined within a small metal box. That's where the experiments take place, all under the gaze of the scientist(s). But, after the mooks mess things up, our blue friend is free to wander around the lab. And here is the thing.
The gameplay doesn't change. It's still a puzzle platformer, using teleportation and what-not. So what's so different outside the box? Well, the levels are bigger. Yeah, it may seem inconsequential, until you think about it.
Inside the box, you had a full view of the level. You could figure it out, plan ahead how you were going to move. Now, outside the box, you lose that. Now, you have to move as far as you can, and then reevaluate the level to continue. This is exacerbated when they add the laser security system. Against it, you have to locate cover, move, locate again, move, etc.
There, you feel the environment in a different light than before. Yeah, it subtle. And yeah, it's effective.
I can't begin to tell you how many other, different games and situation might apply this idea. All I can say is: look out for opportunities like these. Opportunities to show the world changing without being obvious about it. Players might not consciously notice it, but your game will stick in their minds a lot more.
- The Storeman