Games that are perfect examples of great design?

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Retrology
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Games that are perfect examples of great design?

Postby Retrology » June 22nd, 2019, 9:50 pm

As gamers it shouldn't take long for us to figure out what games have good design and which ones have bad. Minimizing the tedium while tossing surprises and keeping the gameplay fresh is why the best games are so memorable.

With that mind, what games immediately come to mind is brilliantly programmed/design?

Sonic 2: What so many Sonic clones back in the day missed from the series' brilliant gameplay was how great the level design was, especially in Sonic 2. Whereas many clones would use multiple paths as excuses to make the levels mazes, Sonic 2 (and Sonic 3 & Knuckles) used them as alternate routes to the end. You'd travel all over the level but still make it to the end just the same as you would if you took another route. This makes exploring so much fun and rewarding.

Banjo Kazooie I think this game is way better than its 2000 sequel and DK 64 for a big reason: It does collectathons right. Wheras the other two games make the levels way too big and crank the backtracking to a headache inducing extreme, Banjo Kazooie makes its levels easy to navigate and explore because the areas are small enough where you'll actually want to collect everything the game has to offer. The puzzles don't take too long to solve either, making the vast majority of them refreshing and fun to complete.

Breath of the Wild Nintendo did the impossible with this game by making a huge, huge, huge world to explore without it being the least bit overwhelming or monotonous. There's so much to do and the crazy part is you'll actually want to try everything this game throws at you. There's a lot of charm and reward in the many sidequests this game offers, and in addition to the main adventure there's so many ways to get to where you need to go so the additional freedom makes this a joy to play.

Bioshock The game's claustrophobic environments combined with the need to explore and check corpses, boxes and drawers for weapons and health upgrades takes up a bulk of the game, but at the same time it makes that aspect a lot of fun. There's plenty of backtracking but it doesn't really feel all that annoying as you'll have a handy map and arrow pointing where you need to go. Plus the interesting gameplay mechanics and story driven gameplay make this so damn engaging to play even a decade later.

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Gentlegamer
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Re: Games that are perfect examples of great design?

Postby Gentlegamer » June 22nd, 2019, 10:10 pm

Half-Life
Half-Life Opposing Force
Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 Episode One
Half-Life 2 Episode Two
Portal
Portal 2
Batman Arkham Asylum
Batman Arkham City
Halo Reach
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Demon's Souls
Dark Souls
Bloodborne
Super Mario World
Super Metroid
Zelda A Link to the Past
Zelda Link's Awakening

Voor
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Re: Games that are perfect examples of great design?

Postby Voor » June 23rd, 2019, 8:21 am

Mario 3

Super Metroid

Yoshi Island

Goldeneye 64

Mario Kart 64

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pacman000
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Re: Games that are perfect examples of great design?

Postby pacman000 » June 23rd, 2019, 10:42 am

I usually use the "simple to learn, hard to master" standard. Combine that with your variety requirement, & I pick:

Tetris

Ms. Pacman

Galaga

Bosconnian

Adventure

Super Mario Bros 3

Donkey Kong Land 2

(I may modify this later to add reasons, & games which didn't quite make the cut.)

jon
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Re: Games that are perfect examples of great design?

Postby jon » June 24th, 2019, 12:18 am

Some of those levels in Goldeneye were incredibly well designed, like inside all of those facilities. Some of those levels are just incredible. The first Metal Slug has great levels that I never get tired of playing. It may actually be the best Slug.

Alucard1191
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Re: Games that are perfect examples of great design?

Postby Alucard1191 » June 24th, 2019, 1:12 am

Chrono Trigger. Seriously, it is designed incredibly well. I've been playing through a lot of my older RPGs lately and while they're all good, Chrono Trigger is paced fantastic, has fantastic art, story, bosses, etc.

And I will also second portal 1+2...

and to drop in a fighting game, while it isn't something I play very much anymore, the design and technical accomplishment of Virtua Fighter 2 on the Saturn is really cool.

ActRaiser
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Re: Games that are perfect examples of great design?

Postby ActRaiser » June 24th, 2019, 7:55 am

I'll throw out the first Halo.

The level design could use some work on a few of the levels but overall they really nailed it.

Similarly, you could only have two weapons at a time which made you think about that shiny rocket you saw laying there. Did you want to trade a machine gun for it and keep a shotgun? It was a novel trade off compared to the Doom days of walking around with an entire arsenal.

Secondly, the shoot, grenades, and wack attacks created a rock, paper, scissors approach to killing and being killed. It was about as well thought out of great design as one could come up with.

And then the multiplayer levels were all really well thought out. Not to mention it supported 4-player co-op over LAN! Up to 16 people could kill each other on equal footing within unique environments.

CaptainCruch
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Re: Games that are perfect examples of great design?

Postby CaptainCruch » June 26th, 2019, 2:02 am

BioShock 1 - I agree on that one. I love the way the story is told.

Shovel Knight - A fantastic combination o modern and classic platforming, and the levels and power-ups progress in a very good way. I'm talking about the original, Plague of Shadows was enjoyable too, just not so good as the original.

Streets of Rage 2 - a perfect way to mix stylish graphics with fantastic sound and music. Also the variation and the length of the levels is very well done. That's harder than you think, when you look at some of the boring lengthy stages of Streets of Rage 3.

ActRaiser
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Re: Games that are perfect examples of great design?

Postby ActRaiser » June 26th, 2019, 8:26 am

CaptainCruch wrote:Shovel Knight - A fantastic combination o modern and classic platforming, and the levels and power-ups progress in a very good way. I'm talking about the original, Plague of Shadows was enjoyable too, just not so good as the original.


There's a chapter on the making of Shovel Knight in the Blood, Sweat, and Pixels book. It's awesome. These guys got together and decided they wanted to a make a mascot game character that would be as popular as Mario on the NES. All decisions had to be approved by the entire dev team. Hiring was hard. The interview would be a panel of 15 guys all at once. It was nuts. But it clearly worked.

Voor
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Re: Games that are perfect examples of great design?

Postby Voor » June 26th, 2019, 6:59 pm

ActRaiser wrote:I'll throw out the first Halo.

The level design could use some work on a few of the levels but overall they really nailed it.

Similarly, you could only have two weapons at a time which made you think about that shiny rocket you saw laying there. Did you want to trade a machine gun for it and keep a shotgun? It was a novel trade off compared to the Doom days of walking around with an entire arsenal.

Secondly, the shoot, grenades, and wack attacks created a rock, paper, scissors approach to killing and being killed. It was about as well thought out of great design as one could come up with.

And then the multiplayer levels were all really well thought out. Not to mention it supported 4-player co-op over LAN! Up to 16 people could kill each other on equal footing within unique environments.


Interestingly, I’ve never played the campaign, but played a lot of LAN with my brother. After years of split screen via Goldeneye, playing on separate screens was amazing. Maps were smaller and very fun, and seemed faster than Halo 2 for some reason. Of course, we always played with no shields and minimum health.


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