In episode 146 of the Waypoint Radio podcast, they discuss ways in which they created new gameplay scenarios within the rules of existing games. This took the form of improv within open ended games like Sea of Thieves, or challenging themselves to play against their usual impulses in A Way Out. This is a fun episode and I encourage you to check it out.
It also got me thinking about ways in which I’ve used video games in unintentional ways to create new ways of play. Below I’ve got a short list of various ways I’ve created my own fun. Some are well known variants, but others may have been more original. Check em out, let me know in the comments if you’ve ever tried these things, or other ways you’ve created your own fun within video games.
- Tomb Raider 2 – Messing with the Butler
I never played a lot of Tomb Raider 2, mostly due to its awkward controls. But I did really enjoy its practice area, Laura’s estate. In her house, she had a butler who followed you around. He was super fun to mess around with. You could shoot him forever and he never died. Eventually we figured out you could lure him into a large walk-in freezer, then lock him in.
- Super Smash Bros (64) – Ranged battle
4 players, 2 teams. All items at the highest occurrence rate. Each team takes a side of the unlockable Mushroom Kingdom stage. You may not cross the center, so you can only use ranged attacks and thrown items. The usual strategy was for one member of your team to play Ness for targeted harassment, and to block enemy items. The other would play as Pikachu to quickly grab items and chuck them at the opponents.
- World of Warcraft – Kazzak Darts
Burning Crusade added the Outlands areas, as well as flying mounts. Within the first area of Outlands there was a demonic circle with a demon named Kazzak at the center. While flying around this area we decided that it looked like a dart board. We would fly overhead, dismount, fall, and try to hit the center. If the fall damage didn’t kill you, Kazzak would. Honor system was in effect to turn off your mini-map, or else the game would be too easy.
- Halo 2 – Zombies
A very popular player made variant within Halo 2. The game starts with one player on the green “zombie” team, everyone else on the red “human” team. Zombie players can only use swords, while humans can use pistols and shotguns. If a zombie manages to kill a human, the human must switch over to the zombie team. The goal is to be the last human standing. The game heavily relied on honor system rules, the punishment for cheating being booted from the server.