Keyboard Geniuses is our weekly glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the Gameological discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity. You can follow the links to see the full threads.
You’re Doing It Wrong
The site celebrated the 15-year anniversary of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a game everyone loves to screw around in, with a special Q&A where about your favorite “wrong” way to play a video game. Let’s take a look at a smattering of the hilarious deviancy readers shared with us. First up, Marasai has a very specific way of playing Skyrim:
Most of the time when I begin Skyrim, I do what I term the “incredible hulk playthrough.” I get lycanthropy and The Cursed Ring Of Hircine, then play as normal. When the ring forces me to change at random, I drop every item I have and need to kill at least one person while changed or I “die.” As a result, I rarely can pay off my bounty and slowly but surely become persona non grata in one hold after another and need to resort to increasingly desperate measures to survive.
Honestly, if I could turn every open world game into a hybrid of don’t starve and escape from butcher bay, I would.
Phil Salvador let us in on some Battlefield antics:
When I played Battlefield 1942, I logged lots of time on a stunt server where we would try to do jumps with Jeeps or fly planes through tunnels on custom maps. The physics in that game were nowhere as adaptable to extracurriculars as, say, Halo, so vehicles would land hard and explode at the slightest touch. Plus, everyone’s slow internet connections guaranteed some level of glitches or floatiness. Just surviving without your vehicle flipping over and exploding was achievement enough. There would be servers filled with people attempting nonsense like this.
The most astounding but easy-to-execute trick was a bail loop, where you pull your plane up into a loop-de-loop, jump out, fall back into the plane as it finishes its loop, and fly away. (There’s loud music in this clip, but it’s a great example.)
Igetkidneystones takes a hard line stance with complainers in their Roller CoasterTycoon games:
In RollerCoaster Tycoon, if I ever saw a guest who wasn’t having a good time (ie, complaining about the park being dirty or, worse, about being charged $.50 to use the bathroom), I’d pick him up and drop him in a lake.
Somehow Merve’s strategy was even more sadistic:
I did that too in RCT! In fact, I would create a special drowning pool surrounded by a path and even fenced it in. That way, I could pretend peeps were seeing what happened to unhappy guests.
Lintor just went straight to weaponized murder coasters:
My favorite method of RCT murder was to build a ride that knowingly went off the rails, then set it to active without “testing” it. I also managed to have one that passed “testing” but would occasionally (only sometimes) go off the track, so it was like Roller Coaster Roulette.
Mario’s 3-D Worlds
After playing it for a solid 15-20 hours, I wrote some words about a little game called Super Mario Odyssey this week. It’s been billed as a long-missing follow-up to Mario’s earliest 3-D adventures, and down in the comments, readers took a look back at how those games hold up these days. First up: RedBlueGreen on a game I recently tore down, Super Mario Sunshine:
I’m waiting until Christmas to get this game, because, honestly, the world is kind of gray enough so that if a big game release hits a couple months shy of December, it’s always worth making it into a Christmas event—especially a Nintendo game, and especially a new goddamn Mario. So to sate myself, I’m replaying the 3-D Marios. I had a blast doing 64; a couple of warts, but still a joyous and shockingly well executed game. Now I’m on Sunshine, which I haven’t played since around the mid-’00s.
Now, I was this game’s biggest champion back in the day. I always thought it was unjustly maligned and ignored. But now? There are a few things I love about it. Weirdly, my favorite thing might be its adherence to a single location; rather than variety, it aims to create a sense of an actual living place to inhabit, more so than any other Mario game I can think of. I just love that you can see the other levels in the distance if you climb up to heights or a hillside.
But can anyone else back me up here: It might just be one of the most infuriating and needlessly frustrating games I have ever played. And not the Galaxy-esque “secret” stages that I remember being so challenging; they’re tough but kind of fair. It’s everything else. The weird love of tightropes in the level design, the unwieldy and no-fun FLUDD nozzles, the enemies solely designed to knock you off of shit and make you restart a climb, the amount of restarting climbs you have to do, the annoying red coin placements or the tedious blue coin dashes. It’s a testament to small frustrations, stacking on top of each other until a huge chunk of the game is just yelling profanities at the slippery, bumbling Mario. I haven’t yelled so much while playing a game in years.
Wolfman Jew answered that call for back up:
For my money, the level that really highlights the game’s problems is the goddamn Sand Bird, where you’re forced to stay upright on a very small bird flying over a bottomless pit. F.L.U.D.D. won’t help you much, being daring isn’t nearly as fun when you’re feeling that sense of anxiety and dread over the course of around three minutes, and you also have blue coins on clouds which are hard to get and necessary for 100% completion. Obviously, there have been far tougher Mario games, but that one just gave me an absolute sensation of nausea I don’t normally get from the series.
It is a truly interesting game, though, and its best ideas are strong. I also love the notion of a Mario game set in a single location that gets thoroughly interrogated—and I think there is diversity there, just through details and level designs than big biome shifts—and it’d be nice to see another game try it. (Maybe one set on a massive mountain range and ski resort?) The characters sucked, but the notion of Mario interacting with a populated world is intriguing, too. It’s a game about trying new things, and I respect it a lot for that, far more than I actually enjoy it.
That’ll do it for this week, Gameologinauts. As always, thank you for reading and commenting. We’ll see you next week!