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Thread: Gameplay and Design Origins Discussion Thread

  1. #1

    Gameplay and Design Origins Discussion Thread

    I'm hoping to generate some good historical discussion here on where various aspects of gameplay and design originated. Given the vast number of games released, it can be quite difficult to trace stuff.

    Here are some examples I have been trying to find the origins of:

    NPC sidekicks -


    It's a fairly common concept today but not so much in the early days of gaming. The earliest I can think of is Floyd from Infocom's 1983 adventure game Planetfall.


    Password Saves -


    This became pretty popular in the mid-late '80s but when did it start? I can think of Starpath's 2600 Supercharger game Survival Island and Synapse's computer game Pharaoh's Curse, both from 1983.


    Puzzle Platformers -


    These are mixtures of puzzle and platform gameplay although usually more on the puzzle side. Klov.com lists Technos' 1982 arcade game Minky Monkey as a puzzle game but I consider it a platformer with very light puzzle elements. Much closer would be Broderbund's C64 game The Castles of Dr. Creep from 1984 but you could argue it's a platform/adventure game with puzzle elements. Then there's Sega's 1985 SG-1000 game Doki Doki Penguin Land which heads more into puzzle territory. I would put this in the sub-genre. It's hard to tell where to draw the line. There's also probably some early Spectrum games I'm forgetting.


    Simultaneous Co-operative/Competitive Play -


    What I mean by this is games where you can choose to work with the other person to beat the levels or beat on them. The earliest that comes to mind is the Mario Bros. arcade game from 1983 since you could smack the floor below to knock the other guy into enemies. Datasoft's computer game Bruce Lee(1984) is the oldest I can think of where you can directly assault the other player.


    Being able to drive a car and exit to walk around -


    This is super common today thanks to GTA. Was there anything earlier than Synapse's 1984 computer game N.Y.C: The Big Apple AKA New York City?


    So, let me know if you think earlier games fit these categories, and please add your own to discuss.
    Last edited by NeoZeedeater; 25 Nov 2006 at 04:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Squad-Based FPS Where you actually have a team that you give orders to ala Rainbow 6 or Republic Commando. The first one I can think of is Space Hulk.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Vasteel View Post
    Squad-Based FPS Where you actually have a team that you give orders to ala Rainbow 6 or Republic Commando. The first one I can think of is Space Hulk.
    The Aliens C64 game did it earlier than that, I believe.
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  4. You should give some modern examples of the gameplay designs you guys are bringing up--I'm not as hip to the classics as you all, and some of these descriptions have be baffled.

  5. Wasn't baseball stars the first console game that had a battery saved season and recorded stats?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRyan View Post
    You should give some modern examples of the gameplay designs you guys are bringing up--I'm not as hip to the classics as you all, and some of these descriptions have be baffled.
    Well, an NPC sidekick would be any non-player character that's a sidekick, like Alyx in Half-Life 2: Episode One or Issun in Okami. They're alongside you and interact with you but are not playable.

    Like any genre or sub-genre, I don't think everyone will agree on the definition of "Puzzle Platformer". Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a semi-recent one.

    For "Simultaneous Co-operative/Competitive Play", many action games have this today. Being able to shoot your teammates in an FPS would be an example(often called "friendly fire" in this genre). Often, this is just meant to be done accidentally but in some games it can be fun to attack the other person, like in the Rampage series.

  7. Quote Originally Posted by YellerDog View Post
    The Aliens C64 game did it earlier than that, I believe.
    The thing did that as well, but everyone kept dying off.
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  8. #8
    Excitebike had a track editor on the Famicom Disk System, dunno if that was predated by some obscure PC game.
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  9. Quote Originally Posted by YellerDog View Post
    The Aliens C64 game did it earlier than that, I believe.
    Hostage: Rescue Mission (C64, PC, ST, Amiga) is another early one. It was released in 1988, possibly as early as '87. Aliens may have been slightly earlier but I think it provided a clearer template for later squad-based games to follow. It was later ported to the NES.



    Quote Originally Posted by NeoZeedeater
    I don't think everyone will agree on the definition of "Puzzle Platformer". Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a semi-recent one.
    Are you talking about "single screen platformers" or SSP's?

    Other gameplay aspects and/or tropes:

    Bosses:

    Phoenix, released by Centuri in 1980, is the earliest game I recall having a clearly defined "boss" encounter. Gorf is another early example in 1981. But it wasn't until Kung Fu Master came out in 1984 that the boss encounter as we know it today began to take shape: 5 levels, each with a unique boss character at the end, and each requiring a different strategy. Gradius would refine the boss concept even further one year later.
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  10. Quote Originally Posted by Mzo View Post
    Excitebike had a track editor on the Famicom Disk System, dunno if that was predated by some obscure PC game.
    The NES version had one too, as did Mach Rider and Wrecking Crew.
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