The fundamental games of gaming

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by FAST6191, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    TL: DR What do you consider the "fundamental games" or games that you think everybody should have played to have a good grounding in this thing we call games. My suggestions/starting point noted by the red bar.

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    I was asked by a client a while back if I could teach their kid game design which was one of the more interesting requests I have got. I am not that much of a teacher when it comes to that sort of thing -- whatever high concept technical thing I know I would like to think I could communicate to others and I would also like to believe I could give it a fair shake if it was someone "around 16 or later*". Now there is not much chance anybody coming up through school today will get much computer training worth a damn and certainly nothing along the lines of game design.

    However I pondered it for a while and it occurred that I could not teach someone to be a chef without them knowing how to cook vegetables, meat, make pastry, make dough.... first, I could not teach filmmaking without people having seen certain films, literature without looking at the works that loom large over it all.... Now everybody plays games but much like the above not everybody has a good grounding in the fundamental games that underpin it all. Having learned a lesson from the awful ways languages are taught I am not so sure going in for the abstract concepts (all games start with conflict), basic mechanics (this is driving, this is ball bounding), high level theory (in this case it would be game theory and mechanism design) is a great idea either however tempting it is for me to consider things as such as I analyse games today.
    I have considered such a thing in years past and most of the time the result of my considerations came back as "most early arcade games". Such an answer is barely the basis for a proper answer let alone a proper answer, I will use it as a jumping off point though.

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    Asteroids. Naturally.
    Tetris. Do I really need to go into why this is here?
    Driving game. I am thinking about maybe Micro machines rather than one of the actual early arcade representatives. Whether I want to switch this up for a "race to the horizon" type game I am not sure. Is such a thing all that functionally different to Space Harrier though? That said of all the abstract concepts stuff above I am most afraid of teaching games manufacture from a programming/reverse engineering perspective as I hold it would be a mistake of similar magnitude to graphics vs aesthetics.
    Some shmup. Probably not bullet hell and if I had to pick one it might well be NES talespin.
    I also question whether I want to go tower defence or missile command or space invaders. [sentence using the word functionally again].
    Bomberman. Leaving my previous function hangups I have to wonder about rampart as compared to bomberman, I am deliberately placing it up against bomberman here rather than the tower defence stuff rampart is usually said to have the precursor to.
    Qix/Volfied.
    Breakout. Can anybody really argue against its inclusion. Edit -- this might however be to the exclusion of pong.

    Something that draws from an unusual place to form levels. Operation: Inner Space, some wardriving based game, doom task manager. A random generator might do in a pinch but I will hold back on that if I can.

    The Microsoft Entertainment Pack probably rounds much of this out (Chip's challenge, SkiFree and Rodent's revenge... how could I not?).

    Do I want to break it down further and cover card, board and perhaps even role playing? My main issue is they immediately open up a whole can of worms as it comes to mods, alternative rules, uncomputable concepts, questions of what constitutes a game and more.


    My issues with the term genre and a lot of gaming might raise their heads here and sending someone out into the world that thinks like me is not a recipe for success so I might have to pull back using some of my pet peeves as a formation for a suggestion and

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    *I hate using ages as it is a horrible predictor of ability/level of skill (so many examples from ROM hacking and forums like this), hopefully the meaning comes across though. Still I am not sure a high level discussion of psychology, storytelling, game theory, programming and the logic underpinning it is all that suited to a child of ten or so (unless of course I want to train a conman... tempting). Likewise I am not brilliant at the rewards/milestones stuff that I imagine would be pretty essential here -- without wishing to sound as completely detached as I probably am there has been precious little that has ever motivated me to do anything which is only tempered by my usual question I ask when it comes to the "should I do this?" dilemma being "why not?" rather than "why?" (healthcare is free and room and board is not exactly hard to make happen either meaning the reasons not to tend to be "do I have more guns than law enforcement/the government?", "is it going to terribly negatively affect my social standing/ability to carry on easily?" or "will this seriously impact my health for a period I deem undesirable?").
     


  2. Randall402

    Randall402 Member

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    Call of Duty BLOPS 2..... jk
     
  3. AngryGeek416

    AngryGeek416 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Pong, Space Invaders, Super Mario Bro's.
     
  4. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Pong you say, naturally I considered it for the list but I have to wonder if it is necessary if I have something like breakout instead?

    How do you figure? What does it do better or as a better example than other options? How fundamental it its play style to games?
     
  5. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    Game design is an entire industry. And with such variable types of games, it's probably worth focussing on a couple genres that the child really GETS (or rather: groks) rather than letting him play all the different genres. Because unlike cooking, it's not something you make in a day. ;)

    My nominated games:

    * Bejeweled. And this video may be handy to know why.
    * Unreal (the first one). Aside from pretty darn good level design and music, there's also the mood that truly set it apart from other 3D shooters from its day. But more importantly: the included editor. Of course later versions are far more advanced, but as for basic level design, it's pretty good. :)
    * farmville/angry birds/plants vs zombies: in any case: something popular of this generation. However, the emphasis isn't simply on playing but in understanding how they've become successful in the first place.
    * pac-man. for obvious reasons.
     
  6. calmwaters

    calmwaters Cat's best friend

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    Show the different game types to the kid and let him pick which one he likes the best? Then you can teach that to him. It's impossible to teach someone every method possible for making a game... I think.
     
  7. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    Here's my little list:
    • Counter Strike - it's one of the very first shooters which actually had objectives, it emphasized teamwork and popularized multiplayer as we know it today.
    • Doom - a very important milestone in 3D (well, 2.5D, really) FPS'es and a huge improvement over Wolfenstein which admittedly came first but lacked the depth and complexity of Doom.
    • Warcraft and Starcraft games - these titles made strategy games "fun" wheras previous installments in the RTS genre tended to be boring. On top of that, these series introduced differences between factions going beyond the colour of the unit - the race you picked determined which play style is going to be the most effective. To this day Starcraft remains one of the best strategy games in terms of both micromanagement and depth of gameplay.
    • Unreal Tournament - similarly to Counter Strike, this is one of those games which made multiplayer what it is today and remains one of the best competitive shooters to date. While it didn't focus so much on objectives, it definitely refined the skill aspect of shooters and I have nothing but fond memories connected to it.
    • Quake I and II - although most people would just list the original Quake instead seeing as it was one of the first games of its kind, I always enjoyed Quake II a bit more. Both games had a nice story element to them and the multiplayer sections of the games were ever so satisfying
    • Unreal - listed for the same reasons I chose Quake II and more. The visuals were spectacular and breathtaking at the time, the level design was remarkable, I'd even risk to saying picturesque.
    • Diablo I and II - these two games practically defined what "Hack and Slash" really is. The story was interesting, the fights were intense, the loot was flooding out of the screen and buckets of fun were had by all. On top of that there was Battle.Net where your mighty warriors and wizards could clash or work together, extending the experience beyond the level of the single player campaign.
    • Baldur's Gate I and II - these games on the other hand were one of the very first to adapt the Dungeons and Dragons style of role-playing to the cRPG format without sacrificing the fun aspect. The story and the characters were deep and compelling and everything that tends to be boring about tabletop RPG's happened in the background so that the player could fully immerse in the game world. If you haven't played Baldur's Gate, you haven't played a WRPG yet.
    • Fallout series - here I may be bias as it's practically my favorite game series of all time... but I just can't stop myself from remembering all the hours spent on Fallout 2. There was a period in my life when I'd play Fallout 1 and 2 on a yearly basis, competing it at least once year after year, playing with the character sheets and always discovering new secrets in the deep, compelling world of the Wastelands. What's important about those games is that they were one of the first to give you a choice - a real choice, not the "press X to be merciful, press Y to be vengeful" kind of choice we often see nowadays. Fallout was an opportunity to become someone else and solve problems your way - every problem could be approached from a variety of angles and by some miracle of game design it you could always find your way to win, this way or another. It didn't matter if you're a brute, a thief, a hacker or a trader with tongue of silver - the games were ready and they always offered something special for all the exotic combinations of stats you could think of. Hell, they even allowed you to create a complete idiot of a character who couldn't speak and y'know what? That made conversations all the more hilarious. These are absolute gems of WRPG's, just like Baldur's Gate.
    • Need for Speed III - it may not have been the first in the series but it's definitely the one I remember the most. The clunky graphics of the first one were gone, the clunky physics of the second one (which deserves a spot on the list too, if only for the fluidity of gameplay) were a thing of the past, NFSIII was where it's at. As a racing game, NFSIII was spectacular in everything it did and the possibility of playing "as the cop" added a whole new level to it.
    • Command & Conquer - if there ever was a company that could make a strategy game a cinematic experience, it was Westwood. The game was good on its own right - one of the best strategies ever made, but the FMV sequences put you right in the heart of the conflict. C&C never made you feel like a god - you felt very much like one of the figures on the chess board, you were in direct contact with the politicians and it made the game ever so enjoyable... not to mention corny at times. Heck, I recently watched all the cutscenes from the game (original C&C, Red Alert and Red Alert 2) as a pseudo-movie and it was a blast, I must say.
    I would add more to the list, but let's give other members some space to show their gems, shall we? So many titles pop up in my head, I could spend a week enumerating all my favourites. :P
     
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  8. ShadowSoldier

    ShadowSoldier GBAtemp Guru

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    Goldeneye
    Super Mario 64
    Legend of the Mystical Ninja.
     
  9. Nah3DS

    Nah3DS Madre de Dios! Es El POLLO DIABLO!!!

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    Start with something simple...

    Tetris
    Pac Man
    Super Mario Bros.
    The Legend Of Zelda
    Castlevania
    Street Fighter 2

    also, watch this show (more episodes here) and this one
    especially the first one
     
  10. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Thanks for the replies everybody.

    I do have to say something about the cooking -- there are so many paths for very deep specialisation (every chef can make pastry, not every chef is a pastry chef) that I am not sure it is such a great analogy. Likewise planning a meal and thinking up new dishes can take some serious doing.

    On unreal. Oh yeah mod making would be a large chunk of what I would be going into.

    On pac man. Consider it an obvious omission from my initial list.

    I am not sure I can get behind that in the modern world when "genre blending" is the order of the day and possibly has been for some time and will only get worse (see RPG elements or my rapidly rising favourite in rougelike elements). I am just not sure it is a good thing to teach them as abstract concepts (this is first person, this is third person, this is driving, this is shooting, this is Simon says, this is tower defence....) which means I need a broad selection of games. It might happen eventually and it is how I consider a lot of things but I am not sure it is a great way for someone like that.

    999, a point and click in the classic sense or something else I can run in SCUMMVM. Decisions, decisions.
    Why Goldeneye as a fundamental game rather than the better options available before, at the time or since? Certainly it is a classic but I am not sure the "consoles can be just as good as a PC" thing needs to be demonstrated. Might do perfect Dark XBLA.
    I can see that, I do not know if I would go fundamental rather than compare and contrast with several other games from before and after.
    I only ever played the first N64 Mystical Ninja and toyed around with the DS one for a few minutes to see if I wanted to get in on a translation so can not comment there.


    On "?craft". I reckon Dune II did most of that (factions especially, though not to the degree seen in starcraft). That said APM is king there and definitely worth looking at because of that.
    Diablo. I was wondering how I might set about the roguelike progression/family tree.
    The rest of the start of the list. You can be certain that I will make the point of what FPS is and can encompass, though as the kid is a serious minecraft fan I do not imagine that will be too hard a point to make.

    On need for speed three. Other than kart games it is the only driving game I have levels memorised in to this day, though not because of any astounding quality. That said I am wondering if Road Rash and/or Carmageddon is worth a look in here instead/as a greater part of it all.
     
  11. _Chaz_

    _Chaz_ GBAtemp's Official Mook™

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    Chrono Trigger - One of the best examples of an RPG giving an incredible yet original story with likable characters, multiple paths and side-quests, and enjoyable gameplay with a twist on the norm for its time. If you haven't played this game, just leave.

    Zork Series - (or many of the top-rated text based adventure games) as they really show how a game can be fun without something as simple as graphical interface, something most consider to be the defining quality of video games.

    Super Smash Bros. Melee - Like it or not, it's a fighting game. But it's a fighting game without the standard fighting format. It's easy to play, and still technical enough to have one of the most expansive competitive scenes out there TWELVE YEARS AFTER ITS RELEASE. Of course there are other games in the series, but none that give the experience that Melee will.

    Pong - Possibly the simplest game with visuals, yet strangely addicting. You may find yourself playing one of this game's millions of variations for several minutes or several hours. People who haven't touched a video game know what Pong is, and that's impressive.

    Super Mario 64 - Great example of early 3D platformers. The game has aged very well, and is really fun while still allowing you to appreciate the games we have now.

    Bubsy 3D - Literally the worst example of early 3D platformers. The game was never very well, and is not fun which allows you to REALLY appreciate the games we have now.

    Super Mario Bros. - Nostalgia factor, let's face it. The game was great, but didn't age well. However, we still enjoy it. On top of this, just about every genre will make references to this game, or at least draw off of it in one way.

    Super Metroid - A very good example of a game that gives challenge and minimal guidance. So minimal that there is no guidance, at all. You're alone on an alien planet and you're going to find your way around, whether you like it or not. Which is good, because you will like it.

    Whatever the Hell You Want - Because seriously, who even cares?
     
  12. Cyan

    Cyan GBATemp's lurking knight

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    Maybe something from each game genre, to teach what created the genre, where it comes from, how it evolved?
    There are probably older references, and it could be interesting to search who created the very first game of each genre, but these are the one I discovered first, with obvious Amiga/Nintendo choices:

    Point and click: Monkey island, maniac mansion, day if the tentacle, etc. (even the non Lucasart games).

    myst like : Myst, shadowgate

    plateform : Prince of Persia, Super Gouls and Ghost, Mario series, castlevania (introducing metroidvania, day/night cycle with simon's quest), shadow warrior, rayman

    Plateform 3D : Crash Bandicoot, Mario 64,

    Beat'em'all : double dragon, golden axe, turtle in time, etc.

    Beat'em'all plateform/arcade : Contra III, Metal Slug

    adventure : zelda, rogues likes, solstice, Dune1, ultima, Ys

    Animation/plateform/adventure : Dragon's lair ! Another world, Flashback

    mixed genre (plateform adventure, plateform RPG, etc.) : Battle of Olympus, Faxanadu, goonies2, metroidvania

    craft: Dune2, Warcraft 2, X-COM: UFO Defense, The Settlers, Genesia, populous

    Cars : Offroad ! (top view racing, this is a great game), Vroom (and games with race to the horizon view), Fzero, Gran turismo

    FPS labyrinth : Eyes of the beholder, ultima underworld

    western RPG : Shadowrun, Fallout

    J-RPG : dragon quest/FF for old ones (I don't know if they are good to start with the genre, maybe a little more recent, like Snes era is better. but understanding the base and where this comes from you need to know ultima series/FF/DQ), Breath of Fire, Tales of, seiken densetsu (secret of mana)

    Tactical RPG : Shining Force, Front Mission 3

    FPS : wolfenstein, doom

    reflexion : Lemmings, push over

    fun ? : Worms

    sims : sim city, etc.

    older/arcade/which genre ? : frog, marble madness

    His own genre? : Katamari Damacy 1 (not the other, only the first one to discover)

    Mudical games : DDR, Sing, Rock, etc.

    Open world/car : Taxi, Driver, GTA

    Open world/RPG : Elder scroll, ultima

    Survival horror : Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil

    Hack & slash : Diablo, Legacy of Kain - Blood Omen

    Shoot'em'up : Life Force, R-type, Parodius, Axelay

    Fighting : Street fighter II, Tekken, TohShinDen/Souledge

    Classics : Bomberman, Tetris, Bubble bobble, Puzzle bobble, Qix, Breakout, centipede/asteroid (all the one you mentioned in your first post)
     
  13. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Chrono trigger. I saw many people waxing poetic about it but it never struck a chord with me and other than being historically notable I doubt that will change in the coming years. I have said similar things in the past and though I hold everybody should have played a doom clone I do not consider even close to mandatory to have played Chrono Trigger.

    Text adventures.

    Competition. Though I might one day work up to a grudging respect for certain types of competition it is a long way off that happening for computer games for me, not least of all because few in that world seem to have the barest comprehension of competition theory. As such using whatever passes for a competitive scene as a measure of its greatness is not something I can really go in for. Still though it was not the first to do special moves/asymmetric strategy or ring out as a primary mechanic I can see the merit is a brawler type game.

    On Mario gone 3d. I reckon Sunshine would be a better shot and maybe some of the Rare stuff for the N64 instead.

    On Pong... pong or breakout?

    What did not age well about Super Mario Brothers save perhaps the graphics? Disclaimer. My Mario history considers of N64 kart and beyond (the Wii version did nothing for me and I have yet to bother with the 3ds one), the first NES one, 64 and sunshine, NSMB on the DS and not a lot else.
     
  14. ShadowSoldier

    ShadowSoldier GBAtemp Guru

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    Legend of the Mystical Ninja is nothing like the two N64 games. It's really fun but really challenging.

    As for Goldeneye, I'd say because it put console shooters on the map. Yes there were some before it, Doom, Wolfenstein, but Goldeneye is the first movie based game that was actually a fantastic FPS that is still being played competitively and tournaments today.

    Another one would be Earthbound. It does so many things that RPG's need to be doing today. It makes you want to talk to every single NPC in the game. There's no swords, shields, staffs, wands etc that you see in every other RPG. Instead this one is just a 10 year old boy, living in the 90's, who uses a baseball to fight, and equips hats to raise his stats. You save your game by calling your dad. You get cash by going to an ATM machine. It cuts grinding down so much. Most RPGs, if you're really strong level and fight a weak enemy, oh well, you gotta fight. In Earthbound, if you're really strong and there's a 100% chance you'll win the fight in the first round, the game sees that and when you run into enemies, the screen just blinks and says "You Won" without going to the battle screen.
     
  15. Vipera

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  16. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    Carmageddon is definitely worth introducing if whoever you're introducing it to is "up to it" - it is gory and pretty damn violent after all. As for Road Rash, I haven't played the title to this day to be honest, but what I did play and can recommend is Mach Rider for the NES - I loved it as a child and as a combat racer it still holds up. Speaking of combat racers, consider Rollcage as an entry on the list as well - it's a fantastic game with stunning visuals and the whole rollcage mechanic (the cars were two-sided - you could flip upside-down and carry on going) is pretty damn awesome. If you want to go full-on futuristic, Wipeout is a must as well.
    Don't forget about Beneath a Steel Sky and Broken Sword! :yay:
     
  17. Cyan

    Cyan GBATemp's lurking knight

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    I still haven't play Beneath!
    but, one day... maybe
     
  18. Vipera

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  19. Black-Ice

    Black-Ice Founder of the Church of Renamon

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    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    You can't beat the classics!
     
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