Thursday, 23 May 2013

A Different Perspective

Some games I've owned over the years have been played to death.  Whether it is playing Golden Axe or Streets of Rage so many times that I practically know where the enemies are going to appear from, or driving the roads of Outrun 2 until the scenery itself doesn't amaze any more, it can get to a point where you start looking for challenges.

For driving games there is the Time Trial mode - an easy side step that is great for beating your own time and a chance to see how you stack up vs the world with online leaderboards.

For the likes of Streets of Rage, maybe try to see how far I get with only one life?  Maybe put it on hardest difficulty too?

But maybe the answer is more subtle than self made mini challenges.  Is there a way of giving the existing main part of the games a new lease of life?

A game like Spelunky is an interesting concept.  A game that is different every time, with randomly generated level layout and content.  That's fine, but I've always thought that a lot of the magic of games is that you CAN master them if you choose so you DO know every corner or wave of enemies off by heart.

Strangely enough, it was playing FIFA 13 that made me think most.  I play a lot of FIFA, but even when playing online there is a big element of boredom.  Its why the annual updates are welcomed with open arms -   its very easy to get stuck in patterns of play, and the new game that rolls over the hill every August brings a freshness (albeit only slight, in reality).

On a football game, or most sports games maybe, its easier to get to this point, because its too easy to stick with what works reasonably well, as opposed to getting inspiration to do things better and differently each time.  This is different to, say, a 1-on-1 fighting game as you learn quickly to try different things for different enemies if you keep getting battered.

So it came down to one simple yet major change - the camera angle.

Just changing the camera angle from the default 'Tele' setting that defines the FIFA standard, year-in year-out, to a zoomed in Dynamic setting makes a world of difference.

It becomes a new game.  Goals become more satisfying, its closer in, more defined in colour & detail, more real.  Its the same old game that can be played in the same kind of way - but now its had a wash, a beer & a shave of its balls and is ready to go again.

In essence, this is the case for a few other game types.  Changing the camera from a classic chase to in-car or on-bonnet viewpoint on any driving game makes you learn a whole new way of driving - but its still the same courses & tracks.

Also makes me wonder and remember back to when DVD's used to boast about films that have been shot in different camera angles, and how you could choose from each one.  It never really took off.  And besides - a film directed in a particular way with particular camera angles builds its character - like anything from John Woo or Tarantino.

But would there be a benefit for any particular action film to be watched at a different set of camera angles?  Would it give the film a fresh ball shave too??

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