Every once in a while, gamers like to dismantle their carefully setup gaming stations, put everything in large bags, and gather in a dimly lit place to celebrate a party like no other. Why are LAN parties so fun and what makes them a staple of gaming culture?
When I was a child, I have played The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask on the N64. I liked Zelda games, but did not really warm up to this installment. Since the game runs on a three day timer, I constantly felt stressed. Recently, I have picked up the 3DS remake and came to appreciate the in-game clock. It is not because of the increased pressure, but because the people in this world are truly living on the clock! How can game developers learn from this example and breathe life into their worlds?
Last week, on February 25th 2020 the inventor of the Konami Code, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, has passed away. The button pressing sequence up up down down left right left right B A, which is also known as the Contra Code, has been famously used in video games since its first appearance in 1986. Why have cheat codes been necessary in the past and what has changed?
When I was nine years old, I started my first adventure as a Pokémon trainer in Pokémon Blue Version. I still remember the excitement of entering a whole new world. Compared to today’s games’ worlds, the world of the 1990s role-playing-game hit for Game Boy was tiny. So how did the developers at Game Freak set the scope to make the adventure still feel so grand?
As a young kid, I played Star Fox 64 – or Lylat Wars, as the 1997 3D space shooter game is known in Europe – and never gave much thought to the battle chatter of my wing men. I did not speak English, so I had to read the German translations in the box at the bottom of the screen. In the heat of the battle, I often missed important cues or crashed distracted while reading. (It was my first lesson of never texting while driving, even before the spread of mobile phones.)
Who of us has not once thought about moving beyond our usually limited power and what we would do differently as the ruler of a kingdom? Get rid of corruption and injustice. Gather the wisest people in a council and listen to their advice. Create a flourishing economy and share the wealth with the people. Bring peace to the country and the world. With the unlimited power of a king we would create a great Kingdom – unlike all these tyrants of history! But could we really?
Last year, I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Wii U. In the beginning of the game, you are woken up by the princess after a hundred years slumber. You learn about her desperate fight against Calamity Ganon, that has been going on for all these years, and how she cannot hold him back much longer. You receive your first and primary quest named Destroy Ganon. When you leave the cave, you can even see the castle shrouded in menacing purple. And you can indeed go there and die like most speedrunners on their first try. But usually you go on a journey across the land to become stronger first and learn the urgency of fishing.