Nostalgia Induced Stupidity

I’m in the process of building more of the Cliffs level, and the more that I play with it, the less that I like it. There are parts of it I am fond of and play really well, but as a rule the level seems to be missing something. I could cut it and start right at the bottom of The Wall, but I like the idea of the level and think it could be quite good.
So, my thinking is that I need to add something, and that’s a big damn shame. In effect, I’m finding that when the core platforming gameplay is all by itself, it doesn’t stand up. The whole game could not be the platforming and not be terrible. The combat does have the great effect of breaking the gameplay up a bit and makes it more interesting. Especially when the combat and the platforming are combined in clever ways, or the enemies present an additional challenge for the platforming.
But no matter, the something that I need is there someplace and I think the level needs a puzzle. Nothing terribly fancy, just an excuse to force the player to backtrack a bit and figure out some puzzle in advance a few steps. In other words, a Reason for bothering. Yes, the story says we go back into the Castle now, but that’s no reason for the player to climb a big assed hill. It borders on the assinine. Breaking it up into smaller segments to conquer, well, that seems like it would work better. Give the player a bonus, a gift, a carrot frequently and then give out big stuff for big stuff. A cardinal rule of game design is thus : Do not make your player wait for acknowledgement.
Now, I just need to figure out what that is exactly. What can I put into seaside cliffs that would require some kind of puzzle to be solved? I already got the puzzles for The Wall figured out. Heck, The Castle level itself is almost all built in my head, but what to do with Cliffs. I’ll ponder and figure it out, although I’m considering having the puzzle destroy large chunks of the level to work. Although, that would drive the artists crazy. “What do you mean there’s two versions of the level? There’s no workable map? What the hell?” I can already see the emails floating in. When they play the demo though, I think they’ll see what I going for and agree it’s worth it.

Right then, back to the title. The GDC is going on right now, like as I write this and all day I keep getting feeds in from my feed sites. I could have gone. Heck, I’m an IGDA Member (in San Diego, and they never meet. I think I may try to be organize something in the future) But regardless, I am in a position where I could go, and that makes me a little happy inside. What also made me happy inside was that I got to vote on for the GDC Awards (The Gamies – I know that isn’t what it’s called, but I don’t care). I explicitly did not vote for Fable II, mostly because of the tragedy that befell The Scarlett Sparrow.
But again, I seem to be getting off topic. On the feed forums I find that people continue to beat the horse over a Final Fantasy 7 remake. Here’s what I have to say about that : Get Over It. Remakes, in all of their glory merely attempt to imitate. The people claim that it would be great to see all of the favortie characters and settings in newer shinier versions. They forget that it isn’t the damn point of a video game. The point is to give you an experience. This is what the people want, they want to play it again and feel that sense of wonder that they got. Mind you, I am not saying that FF7 isn’t a great game (certainly not the best though. That would be Bubble Bobble), but that feeling you got the first time you played it? You will never have that particular feeling again. Instead, nostalgia will fog it. In effect, the act of having seen it, has destroyed its mystery. So yeah, play the original again. You can do that without demanding that game creators re-do work that they have already done.
Me? I hope that they never remake another game, ever.

– I take that back, slightly. Mega Man 9 is what a remake is trying to be. It did everything right. It gave me new Mega Man. I made me feel what it was like to play that game for the first time in a way the a remake would never be able to. I’m also glad to know that I’m not the only one that felt young again playing it.

– In a similar vein, Nintendo announced another Zelda. I’m getting over it at this point. Trains? Really? But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. You can get all of your news about the GDC from a million other places. My point is about the story of Zelda. No, no sarcasm. The meta-story of the Zelda games in the most entertaining piece of fiction in the medium. No, I haven’t lost my mind. The meta fiction works thusly – there is no story. Nothing connects. The story plays out the same way because it is the same story. In effect, the “Legend” is already set in stone. Green clad youth ventures forth, goes through 8 trials, saves princess, Triforce thingy. But each time it’s told, it’s different. If you remove the specifics, you have Hercules, Jason, Neo. You have the mono-myth. You can tell that story as many times as you want, or as is the case in the Zelda games, in whatever way serves the gameplay. So each time I load a Zelda game, I know what is going to happen. The destination isn’t the point. The point is the way that it gets there.
So why the vitriol? Why am I over it? Like I said before, I’m really just searching for Ocarina again. Wind Waker came really close but I want the new. I want the next thing. I don’t have the energy to do it again.
But I say that, and you know, I’ll be in line anyway. When you love cheesecake, you look for the next way to get it.

– Speaking of something totally off topic, I have a theory about James Bond. This has to do with Zelda, almost, in that he is a different guy each time. The basis is that, in spite of being a spy, he gives out his name to everybody. Mission Impossible showed us tha a spy’s name, his or her real name is a very valuble thing. Giving it out to whomever asks is dumb, possibly criminally so. Stupidity that severe should be painful. Yet, he does.
So, I think that the name “James Bond” is a cover name. It goes with the agent currently assigned the 007 designation. It also explains why that all look different in the movies, and yet M is still, well, M and doesn’t say, “My Mr. Bond, you’ve gotten taller and blonder since the last time we met. Didn’t you used to be Scottish?” Think about it.

– Finally, Bubble Bobble is the world’s best game and here’s why – you can always play it. If it was the only game you had in your entire house, it would be okay. You can play with a friend, while drunk, and/or while drunk with a friend. It also has the greatest music to be produced by man, period. It’s the music that plays in the waiting room to Heaven. The characters are both iconic and ironic and are cool without trying. The Most Interesting Man in the World has been known to say, “I don’t always play video games, but when I do, I prefer Bubble Bobble.”
If you can argue with that twisted logic, post something and please, be sure to include whatever game you think is the best ever.

– I am so getting either no response (since nobody reads this) or 500 “I think the FF7 remake is the world’s best game…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *