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  1. #1
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    Defyng the conventions of a genre

    I just watched Yahtzee's latest review, of Silent Hill Downpour. The tagline for the video says "A step in the right direction for survival combat and exploration but Silent Hill: Downpour fails at the horror half of survival horror." That got me thinking, would it be possible to have a survival comedy game?

    A quick google shows that Kotaku, probably jokingly, branded Ghostbusters: The Video Game a survival comedy game. But I don't know if it applies. There's also a game for iOS that bills itself as the first survival comedy game, but I don't have an iOS device so I haven't played it.

    Edit: I suppose you could argue that the Dead Rising series is this, but I don't know if they closely enough resemble survival horror games.

    Years ago, I got interested in the concept of a second-person shooter. I googled and found a tech demo/game called "second person shooter", which was entertaining for all of five minutes. I couldn't find that one today when I tried to look for it again, but I did find Second Person Shooter Zato, which is a surprisingly fun and tense game.

    Basically, you have enemies that storm you in various movement patterns, and you can only see through their viewpoint. Sometimes there are as many as four enemies coming at once, so your screen is divided into four views. The difficulty comes in judging priority targets and lining up your shots, all from outside of your perspective. The creative enemy types also add challenge and strategy.

    What other games completely defy the conventions of their genre? What genre-defying games do you wish existed?
    Last edited by random_guy; 19-04-2012 at 11:31 AM.

  2. #2
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    I'll have a go: Immersion-driven MMO. In this game, players are given a huge world, with numerous cities scattered throughout. Cities differ in size, shape and architecture based on citizenry and geography, as well as the lore-based population density of the area. Cities house NPC's who go about daily routines, including shopkeepers and general city employees. This world also features comprehensive weather patterns and day/night cycles.

    But in this world, players can run shops. Alchemy, weapons, armor...these shopkeepers, of course, must buy a shop. How they get the gold is their own business. They can steal it (NPC houses or other players.) they can earn it (questing, resource gathering or mercenary for other players on their own missions). Players running shops must make their own product. They can use resources gathered themselves, locking their shop up and leaving to go adventuring, or they can buy ingredients from other players who gather them on adventures. The players, of course, and no the devs, would determine the price of goods based on supply and demand.

    Players in this world can be explorers, charting the land and mapping out hidden locations and treasure sites. They can even sell maps to other players, which would then mark valuable treasures on the other player's map. Or sell them treasures. Or both. Players can adventure, raid tombs and ruins and dangerous dungeons full of nasty, dangerous monsters - or other players lying in wait for treasure-laden adventurers.

    Players can even become thieves. They can raid NPC houses (or player houses and shops) for goods. Players would need to secure their goods behind locked doors and in locked chests. The better the lock, the higher the gold cost. Booby traps are extra, too, plan wisely. Also, the city would feature many little corners, nooks and crannies in which to place hidden stashes - or find those of others.

    Enemies in the game would be dangerous. Combat would feature real impacting weapons, staggering, knockdown, active dodging and blocking. Magic would be more in the way of buffs, knockbacks and short range teleports and less in the way of magefire and ice bolst and such. Sneaking would be a real, viable thing, even against players, using cloaking based on skill, movement, available lighting and what other tasks the victim player was engaged in. Time your sneaking carefully.

    This is the MMO I want to play. Were this game world invented I would likely play nothing else besides. Sort of a "Skyrim-meets-EVE/Perpetuum" environment.

  3. #3
    Network Hub Ernesto's Avatar
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    I'd like a scouting/pioneering/anti-war game. Kind of an open world fps, but without (traditional) shooting over long periods.
    Let me explain:

    Introduction:
    You are getting dropped behind the border of a neighboring state, nothing new here, but then you have to worry about food, setting up a camp and stuff. That's the pioneering part.

    Main part:
    Now for the scouting part. Your goal is to discover and spy on enemy bases, patrols, sentry posts and so on. But you have to stay invisible at all cost. If you are discovered, you will have to flee and set up camp elsewhere. Of course you are equipped with a radio to report your findings but also to tell the story of a cold war getting hot.

    Climax:
    The situation gets gradually more tense since you experience troop movements, shifting of patrol routes and eventually the big attack from your side. During this attack you turn into a guerrilla and support the attack by marking targets, taking out small patrols, blowing up bridges, ammo depots and so on.

    End:
    The fighting ends gradually, big battles turn into smaller skirmishes until nobody wants to shoot anymore. At this point the game turns into a pioneering game again and you help rebuilding houses, settle down and think about what you've done.

    So in the beginning it's pioneering/survival with shooting maybe to get some meat. In the main part it's scouting where you are hopefully only 'shooting' with your scope and camera. The climax is where it gets loud and sleepless. And in the end it's a bit like Minecraft (but not blocky ;) ).

    I want to emphasize the word gradually. It would be really bad, to cut the game in four different parts. They have to cross fade.
    Fps are often loud and angry from the beginning until the end. You are constantly doing the same thing over and over, shooting. What changes is the bang of the weapon. As if many game designers never read a decent novel. They may tell the background story like in a novel, but that doesn't have any consequences on the game play.

    That's my take on defying genres. Hope you like it.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Smashbox's Avatar
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    I like it a lot.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    One question for blackcompany:

    Who would want to sit in a shop all day? And who would buy from a shop that's closed 22 hours of the day?

    Okay, two questions for blackcompany.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Smashbox's Avatar
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    QUESTION INTERCEPTION:

    Maybe you can hire NPC shopkeepers?

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smashbox View Post
    QUESTION INTERCEPTION:

    Maybe you can hire NPC shopkeepers?
    That'd be an interesting (if weird) town. Piles of marionettes along with the regular NPC crowd. But even so, the manpower involved with getting an economy going would be prohibitive.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Smashbox's Avatar
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    Maybe you could incorporate it into the fiction and have the city mainly populated by terrifying marionette robots.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Lineage 2 let you sit down in any old spot and set up shop on the floor. All you had to do was pre-set the prices and go watch reruns of Catchphrase. The exchanges between your character and other players required no attention on your part.

    But if you're going that route, might as well just hire an NPC shopkeeper.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smashbox View Post
    Maybe you could incorporate it into the fiction and have the city mainly populated by terrifying marionette robots.
    I was thinking more along the lines of Nalano's Dednüb™ Leatherworks Shop, where we specialize in the hides of anybody dumb enough to wander the streets at night. Remember Harold? Now you can wear him as a vest!
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  11. #11
    Network Hub Ernesto's Avatar
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    I like it a lot.
    Thanks. So how are getting it on the road? I'd like to do it myself, but there is a slight time/money/skill problem...

    Who would want to sit in a shop all day? And who would buy from a shop that's closed 22 hours of the day?
    Somebody is online somewhere. Just buy somewhere else ;)

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ernesto View Post
    Somebody is online somewhere. Just buy somewhere else ;)
    So basically you'd have a ghost town. Wandering past dozens of shuttered stores in case you can find the odd Singaporean/Aussie who's not currently out farming materials. :P
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  13. #13
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    I once played in a table top game with a person who only wanted to be a shopkeeper in the game. No kidding. Asked to do it, in fact.

    But sure, hire NPC shopkeepers to work for you. And you have the option of running the shop yourself when you want, as well. Or a system where you don't actually need to be there. Either or.

    What I want to stress about that game is the freedom. The player control. And sure getting the economy up and running would take time and effort on the part of players. You are literally building this world from the ground up, in terms of everything societal about it. Maybe a few starter items in shops to get things going, in terms of buying and selling.

    I just think its time to try the EVE style sandbox in other genres. It works wonderfully in EVE. And the typical MMO has saturated that market to the point where entering into it is more prohibitive than positive. So why not some atypical MMO games that try something new, or risky?

  14. #14
    Activated Node LeiterJakab's Avatar
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    Twist for Ernesto:
    During your spy mission you discover the enemy does not have weapons of mass destruction and is badly outnumbered by your side. In fact their maneuvers are preparation for the unavoidable enemy offensive.

    You try to buy them time by feeding false information to your side. During the attack you go on with this leading the attacking forces away from fleeing civilians and into disadvantageous positions until they find out. Then you can either flee with the civilians and help them get through borders by gathering intelligence about border patrol, or join the defense side and die in a rather heroic way without making much of a difference.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    I just think its time to try the EVE style sandbox in other genres. It works wonderfully in EVE. And the typical MMO has saturated that market to the point where entering into it is more prohibitive than positive. So why not some atypical MMO games that try something new, or risky?
    Thing about an EVE-style MMO that's not set in space is, I immediately think of Ultima Online and its modern remake, Mortal Online.

    And then I think, "eugh."
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  16. #16
    Network Hub Ernesto's Avatar
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    Twist for Ernesto:
    During your spy mission you discover the enemy does not have weapons of mass destruction and is badly outnumbered by your side. In fact their maneuvers are preparation for the unavoidable enemy offensive...
    That's great! Ahem... as long as you are making one spy game... hrmm... you wouldn't mind programming that for me? ;) I'm currently trying to get a grasp of the Ogre engine in my spare time, maybe I can help.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Smashbox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeiterJakab View Post
    You try to buy them time by feeding false information to your side. During the attack you go on with this leading the attacking forces away from fleeing civilians and into disadvantageous positions until they find out. Then you can either flee with the civilians and help them get through borders by gathering intelligence about border patrol, or join the defense side and die in a rather heroic way without making much of a difference.
    But then you're caught by the invading forces, your former allies, and subject to a military tribunal.

    The game ends with a getting-executed minigame.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    This is the MMO I want to play. Were this game world invented I would likely play nothing else besides. Sort of a "Skyrim-meets-EVE/Perpetuum" environment.
    I'm not sure it still exists, but for two years I played Armageddon MUD, a Darksun-based text-based online-game with perma-death and pretty much no NPCs. Everything was hardcore roleplaying player-based. One of my characters survived for a year and gained a significant amount of power and wealth without having had to do a single fight. Indeed, the one time he was forced to fight - a player-group of bandits raided the caravan we were using to travel to a feast in another city -, he was killed. It was perfect.



    Genre-defying! Well, I think Puzzle Pirates counts as a genre-defying puzzle-based MMO, although personally, I found that Lego Universe came close to a similar joy of playing.
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  19. #19
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bobtree's Avatar
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    @Ernesto: What you describe sounds a bit like My Worst Day WW2. I never played it but you might want to have a look. It's a one-developer game that's been around since at least 2005 and is still being updated. I had a lot of trouble finding this because I didn't recall the name, only that it was a WW2 FPS game of solo sniping, sneaking, and demolitions on an island. Google was nearly useless until I narrowed it down significantly. The youtube demo clips make me laugh because the players all walk past a sign that says "EXTREMELY SECRET BASE." I have no idea how I originally came across it.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus c-Row's Avatar
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    A first person shooter that, true to its name, ends as soon as you shoot the first person you come across.

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