10 Outdated Game ConceptsAngelo Dargenio |
These 10 Outdated Game Concepts have no place in modern games. Most of them are holdovers from a time when video games were meant to be so difficult that they basically punished you for making any mistake. Either that, or they were workarounds for limited technology that don't affect us anymore. Whatever the reason, these 10 Outdated Game Concepts should probably just be taken out of game design altogether.
What does grinding even really do for gameplay? Isn’t it just a way to get you to spend time before actually playing the game? For anyone other than MMO addicts who can’t get enough of seeing numbers get bigger, grinding is just a bore fest. That’s why people have found ways to automate it by taping down controller buttons in areas that it’s nearly impossible to die in. When gamers are figuring out Rube Goldberg machines in order to bypass your game mechanic, it probably deserves to be on the 10 Outdated Game Concepts list.
Personally, we like watching all the cutscenes a game has to offer. We paid sixty dollars for this game and we're going to get our money’s worth! However, there are people out there who aren’t like us and would rather skip the half hour of melodrama certain games like to shove down our throats between missions. There’s no real reason to punish them by making the scenes unskippable. That’s kind of like having an usher who prevents you from leaving a theater during a particularly bad Adam Sandler movie.
There is no game in which instant death is warranted. None. You see, back in the days of the NES, instant death traps were kind of a cheap way to build replay value. If you were killed by something off-screen you had memorize its location as well as the location of a hundred other insta-death pitfalls just to get through the game. Back then, it didn’t matter that you didn’t have a chance to see the trap coming because games were young and we only had the money to buy one and play it for a year. However, now we are grown up and we have things to do, so stop making us play entire levels all over again because random chainsaws decided to erupt from the wall and rip our squishy bodies to shreds for no good reason.
Horror games aren’t about making you feel badass. When faced with the horrible atrocities of the human race, it’s far better to feel powerless than to feel like a beefy space marine decked out with laser guns. Perhaps the best horror franchise on the market right now is The Walking Dead and it doesn’t even have a combat system. Don’t make us spend an hour dodging the attacks of a giant zombie serpent when all we really want to do is run away from it in fear.
Perhaps the best well-known outdated game concept, shooter health pickups just aren’t a thing we even expect to find in first-person shooters anymore. Classic shooters like Quake, Goldeneye and Unreal Tournament used them to great effect, but any shooter without regenerating health at this point is pretty much dismissed offhand. Heck, BioShock Infinite added a regenerating health mechanic even though there was no story precedent for it, and the first BioShock operated just fine without it. Sorry health pickups, you are totally a thing of the past.
When Street Fighter first came out, the Hadoken was designed to be a super secret special move that would reward players who found it. Heck, it was nearly a one shot kill and it was difficult to do because of that. However, as fighting games evolved, special moves became more commonplace. Thus, we needed more complex motions for even better moves, like double quarter-circles, pretzel motions, 720s and other things that make our hands hurt. However, it’s not whether or not someone can throw a fireball that makes a game compelling, it’s how they throw that fireball and whether or not they did so in an appropriate circumstance. So instead of making special moves hard to do, fighting games should just make special moves hard to use well. And that's why this complex controller issue is on our list of 10 Outdated Game Concepts.
Back in the early days of NES and SNES games, item capacity was small simply due to memory limitations. As a result, we got a whole bunch of different inventory systems: some which allow you to stack items to a certain point, some which force you to fit items into a briefcase, and some which simply give you a limited space to hold any items. However, there is no reason with our current technology to not allow you to have 9,999,999 of any item you wish or more. It’s really only a couple more bytes of data and it’s not like you will break the game any more than you already would with 99 of any item.
Cheat codes weren’t really meant for cheating in the early days of gaming. They were actually meant to be quick and dirty developer interfaces. Sometimes you needed to test a game without worrying about running out of lives or ammo, so being able to put in an obscure sequence of inputs to get infinite amounts of resources was useful. However, our modern day sophisticated devkits simply let you toggle variables like that whenever you like, and thus the very notion of cheat codes has become outdated and rarely seen in modern day games.
Here’s a controversial topic. Why do we need lives in games anymore? Why do we need continues? Why do we need any measure of, “Oops, sorry, you failed, go back to the title screen?” Frankly, we don’t. These are old artifacts left over from the arcade era of gaming, back when people wanted to drain your quarters and you had to pay to continue a game. However, if you already paid your 60 bucks, you should be able to play a game as much as you like without having to start all over no matter how many times you die because of an INSTA DEATH TRAP! WHAT DID WE TELL YOU ABOUT THOSE?!
Finally, we come to the #1 most outdate game concept we can think of: the jumping puzzle. When games were first being created, platforming games were all the rage, and so it was very likely that you were going to include some platforming in your game. It’s kind of like how many titles include shooter elements in them today because shooters are all the rage. However, most games aren’t designed to be platforming masterpieces like Mario. As a result, they amount to nothing more than frustration in an otherwise awesome experience. God of War isn’t about jumping; it’s about ripping the brains out of elephant men! Let’s keep it that way.