Lunchtime Discussion: Gaming Conventions

Remember playing in the arcades as a kid? Shoving as many 10-pence pieces as you could con out of your parents into Super Harrier and Outrun and Gauntlet? Getting so far with your 3 lives and then desperately trying to get another 10p into the slot before the continue counted down to 0? Good times, eh? Surely; but those early conventions have a lot to answer for.

You can see the same thing in modern console games with their “Unlockables”. Play long enough, and more importantly play well enough, and you’ll be “rewarded” with extra goodies. I use the word rewarded cautiously, because although it is a reward, I’m of the opinion that my £30 entitles me to everything the game has to offer, and I don’t like being “punished” for my lack of skill.

Of course, some conventions help make the game easier to play, once you know what they are. This is evident when a non-gamer is playing your favourite game and they try to open doors that you know, just by looking at the pixels, can’t possibly be opened.

Thankfully, some conventions have died a death. I can remember the liberating feeling of playing Jak and Daxter and realising I couldn’t really die, for example. But some seem set to stay with us: super-baddies unaffected by close-range headshots; wooden doors impervious to RPGs; surfaces your super-agile hero can’t grip no matter how hard he tries…

Gaming conventions then; which do you love and which would you like to see the back of?

Thanks to Michael for the inspiration for today’s Lunchtime Discussion.