Why I Love Emergent Gameplay

starcraft 2 emergent gameplay

One of the best parts of gaming is finding new ways to make an old favorite fresh and new again. While it’s always easy to play the game that the developers packed into the box, it can sometimes be a rewarding challenge to make new types of games out of an existing framework.

The Halo series are full of some great examples, with things like Zombies, Grifball and many others besides, but this phenomenon is by no means limited to Halo (although the wealth of tools built into the game by Bungie do make it easy to invent your own ways of playing). For example, during a gaming session today, my friends and I cooked up a StarCraft 2-themed drinking game by adding in a bunch of handicaps (like only attacking someone who attacked you first, or not being able to upgrade your units) and game-long missions (using the dance command in everyones base or making someone rage quit). We then dolled out drinks based on whether or not you stuck to your handicaps and if you completed your mission or not. While StarCraft 2 is still a blast for us to play normally, we spent most of the afternoon and a good part of the night playing this game and having a great time.

Over the course of our games, we started talking about how making up your own game within a game is a very old tradition for gamers and can lead to either hours lost trying to make up new things or playing a game you haven’t thought about in months. I know this is kind of a random topic, but have any of you done something similar? Any custom-made gametypes that you want to share?

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

5 thoughts on “Why I Love Emergent Gameplay”

  1. Burnout: DUI Edition

    My roommates and I drink enough shots during dinner to blow .08% on a breathalyzer. Then, we play Burnout. The winner of each race has to drink another shot. By my recollection, no single player has ever won more than 2 races in a row.

    (Please Drink Responsibly)

  2. In Timesplitters 2, on the Ice Station map, the Red team had a vastly superior base in ‘Capture the Bag’ complete with turrets. My friend and I would just try to hold of the waves of Blue trying to capture our bag. Likewise, on the Training Grounds map on Assault mode, we’d attempt speed runs. Timesplitters 3 had other equivalents none of which just as memorable.
    In BFBC 2 we actually make a game of stealing vehicles from the other team’s base. It’s primarily helicopters but we do steal the odd APC or quad. A Blackhawk is our Holy Grail. My friend is THE greatest pilot and my other friend is unstoppable in a minigun. I just do HALO jumps and plant bombs/wreak havok amongst the other team while my friends cover me. This game ends up benefiting our whole team lol.

  3. Me and a few friends always play Halo and set the player traits to the fastest running speed with low gravity and then have Primary weapon as Energy Sword and the secondary weapon set to the Spartan Laser, not sure if anyone has done this but it is insanely fun.

  4. Playing Super Mario Kart battle mode, trying to kill each other using only Bananas, preferably fired forwards trying for the perfect landing.

    Playing CS late at night with a few other admins, we would bind a key to slap ourselves for 0 damage, usually to the mouse wheel. Then smack ourselves all over the place and try to kill each other. That was a pretty ridiculous night.

  5. In GTA: San Andreas, I would activate three cheat codes – a code that gave all of the pedestrians weapons, a code that made all of the pedestrians attack everyone, and a code that activated ‘Riot’ mode (which turned on the environment from the last part of the campaign, with random fires and abandoned vehicles everywhere.) It’d turn the game into an apocalyptic battleground, and I’d spend hours just running around and trying to survive. I remember I also added new music and sounds to Half Life 2 and Modern Warfare – which oddly enough totally changed the experience and made the campaigns replayable again. It sucks that modern games seem to take a stance against doing those kinds of things though.

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