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Script avatar 2:18 PM on 11.11.2013  (server time)
Making Games Within Games

No, this is not a blog about LittleBigPlanet and similar games. Rather, it's a blog about personal rules players make to experience a video game in a new way.

What do I mean by that? Take a look at this video:

In it, two Japanese gamers try to collect the eight red coins in a stage while running away from the green mushroom, which makes for a hilarious video.

You see, in Super Mario 64 the 1-UP mushroom follows Mario around so you don't have to chase it. It was a mechanic implemented to aid the player, but with a little bit of creativity two people used it to create a fun challenge!

That video and forum threads like this made me think about what other games have people made inside games. One that immediately comes to mind is the Gnome challenge in Half-Life 2: Episode 2, made by Valve themselves:

I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with it, but for those who aren't, this challenge consists of carrying a Gnome statue from the beginning of the game to a place near the end, where you drop the little guy in a rocket to send him to space. Why? Well, why not?

There's no point to it whatsoever besides gaining an achievement. And it's not an easy task, since you can't shoot while carrying the Gnome and there's plenty of tricky obstacles you have to overcome to successfully bring it to the rocket (such as, how to put the Gnome in your car without the damned thing falling off it all the time?).

Challenges like that are kind of crazy, but they can be a whole lot of fun as well. In fact, some games are at it's best when you create your own rules and side-quests. One of the prime examples of that is the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

Who has never completely ignored the missions to create mayhem in GTA? Raising the star levels and trying to survive for as long as possible is like another game in itself.

I remember trying all kinds of different things while playing San Andreas in particular, like using cheat codes to get a silenced pistol and a sniper rifle and go to a rural town to stealthily take down some self-appointed targets.

What about the Elder Scrolls franchise? You can invent your own crazy quest in it and role play all you want. Each player is sure to have a personal story to tell about something that happened or that they did.

One of the best examples I can give of self-imposed rules that completely changes your game experience in an Elder Scrolls game is Nondrick's Non-Adventure, and it's Skyrim counterpart.

Simply put, Christopher Livingston wanted to see if he could survive in Oblivion/Skyrim while behaving like a NPC with specific rules. No adventures, no running, no stealing and he had to eat and sleep like a NPC! It goes completely against what you're supposed to do in these games, and though it might sound boring, it made for a very funny journey that was entertaining at least to Livingston's readers.

All these examples made me remember about the different ways I used to play some of my childhood games. I loved to use the proximity/laser mines in games like Duke Nukem 64, Goldeneye 007 and Jet Force Gemini to create obstacle courses for me and my friends. In 007: The World Is Not Enough and Duke Nukem 64, we used the maps which had houses and different areas to role play or have a match with our own variation of King of the Hill, in which everyone had their own territory. In Perfect Dark, I used to add a team full of bots with low health to have my own version of a Dynasty Warriors FPS. In Super Smash Bros. 64, I putted the damage and item ratio to the maximum and selected only laser swords and Pok Balls to appear. I had way more fun than I should have playing those games like that.

But how about you? What crazy antics and personal challenges have you done in games? Do you have any story you would like to share? I would love to hear it!

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