Puzzle Shooters? (spoilerish alert)

Jump to the bottom to see the pretty videos, if you’re like me and have no patience…

I just wanted to point out some new games that have come out in the last two weeks that defy standard catergorization, by being creative and putting new twists onto an old game:  the FPS.  You see, I’m not really taken in by the “novelty” of being more real.  COD?  How is Black Ops REALLY that different from the first COD?  How are the newest sports games REALLY different from past ones?  How are the newest fighting games REALLY different from the old ones?  More real, more complex.  (Though I have to say that I found the insanity of the combat and storyline in COD:BO, to be rather… unrealistic, and the people I know who spent time in the Army agree.  I mean, really?  One or two people versus a hundred – or more?  I don’t think so. Special ops only works in real life when they don’t know you’re there!)  Anyways, one way that “new” game types are created is by combining genres.  In this case, FPS and puzzles, as in the two games below. 

In case you haven’t been inundated with the ads yet (I’m sure most computer gamers already know about this, at least) Portal 2 came out yesterday.  Portal 1 was what I have best seen summarized as a “glorified tech demo” in which the developers played with the idea of having a gun that can create a portal you can walk through on (almost) any surface, to (almost) any other surface.  It’s a FPS, but only in that you have a gun that shoots something – but not people, just portals.  In fact, in the entire game, you character is the ONLY human you see the entire time and then almost only through the portals (see about 1:25 in this vid where the character is literally chasing themself through some portals.  Worse than a dog chasing its tail!).  It’s really a puzzle game, in which the goal is to get through multi-dimensional mazes.  The premise is that you are a “test subject” in an Aperture Labs facility, and you learn more and more sophisticated ways of using the portals (and learning about 3D thinking, momentum, velocity, frames of reference, gravitational acceleration, etc.).  You then use this new knowledge and your convenient portal generating gun to escape from GLaDOS, the evil supercomputer AI that is trying kill… ahem… I mean test you.  Spoiler alert:  You DO escape (assuming you win) and leave GLaDOS in a sorry state.  (Destroyed?)

Nope.  Not destroyed.  Portal 2 brings us back to the lab, where we find ourselves as test subject AI robots, that can now work cooperatively to pass the tests… and then what?  I don’t know.  It’s also cool because there is a cooperative mode, where two people have to work together to get to the end.  Finally, there are challenges, for time, fewest steps taken, etc.  Motivation to earn them all, I would say.

Sanctum is the newest and most interesting Tower Defense game I have ever seen.  Again, the developers add the 3D FPS aspect to the game, and learn by trying the puzzles over and over again.  This game has a fair amount of “just in time” info provided, and again, in a first for tower defense, I believe, there is a cooperative mode.  There is also an “infinite” mode in which you try to last as long as possible against wave after wave of alien destruction, which of course is tied to the leaderboards… motivation, anyone?

Both games meet more of Gee’s principles than you can shake a stick at, opportunities for Flow, ways of “cheating” (or is it?), problem solving, identity issues, motivation (intrinsic and extrinsic), reflection, and enough other “educational” aspects that you could make a career of studying them… or at least until the next big thing comes out…

Advertisements

Prone to FPS motion sickness? Then don’t watch this!

What if Mario were a first-person shooter (FPS) game? These animators let you find out.

Duty Calls.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/02/free-duty-calls-game-promotes-bulletstorm-mocks-war-gaming.ars

The Duty Calls trailer and download:

http://www.thedutycalls.com/download.html

And Bulletstorm, the new videogame being made by Epic Games and EA which is attempting to change how we think about shooters:

http://www.bulletstorm.com/#

The makers of Bulletstorm actually made a short game making fun of traditional first-person-shooters, like Call of Duty. Their short game mocks the fact that typical shooters take themselves way too seriously, and place way too much emphasis on realism. At first, I thought the game looked completely ridiculous, and was slightly offended, given the fact that I LOVE serious shooters like Call of Duty Modern Warfare (1 and 2). But they make a good point; after what we have learned in class so far, I have begun to question the importance of realism (in terms of graphics) when it comes to making a good, fun game. But, is realism in terms of the degree to which gameplay represents reality the same thing? Part of me enjoys the realism of games like Call of Duty, and I find it to be extremely engaging. But many great games also emphasize fantasy, which is also very engaging. Halo is an example of a shooter that I think is more focused on fantasy than realism (and is arguably the most well-known videogame of all time), but Bulletstorm seems to take it to the extreme.What do you guys think? Does Bulletstorm look like it’s pushing too far away from realism? Or do you think it will actually be a popular release?

Archives