Videogames: The Untold Stories

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Videogames: The Untold Stories

Learn the real tales behind some of the best known games in videogame history.

Read Full Article

Only 2 eludes me, but I have 2 possible theories to it.

InvisibleMilk:
Only 2 eludes me, but I have 2 possible theories to it.

Space Invaders

Interesting point of view, though I still disagree with it.

The problem with the logic is that Role-Playing Game means something very specific. It has to do with stats and problems being resolved totally independant of action from the player other than making a desician. The entire thing descended from War Games which was a practice by nerds (typically in college) of fighting historical battles (or battles using historical units) using numbers based on their relative capabilities, to see if they could change the likely outcome by shifting the strategies involved, placement, etc... Things like dice getting involved to represent the role chance could play in the course of a specific event.

War gamers wound up reducing the scale of games, from deciding that they wanted to recreate the entire Battle Of Gettysburg, to say deciding they wanted to conduct a hypothetical encounter between a unit of Yankees and Confederates in terreign of their own device to see who would win. This lead progressively to smaller and smaller skirmishes, until people came up with the idea of confronting a scenario where everyone would control ONE unit instead of a squad or army.

The very first Role-Playing games were nothing but combat simulations involving numbers and dice. No real plot, just an emulation of what would happen if one guy with X equipment and physical traits decided to take a hack at another one. Eventually plots and storylines came into being as people began to create increasingly more sophisticated objectives for people to strive towards.

The idea of the story being the most important aspect of an RPG is actually a fairly recent creation, and arguably the death of RPGs as a lot of arguements on that point seem to largely be intended as an excuse to get away from the mechanics, strategy, and tactics that otherwise defined the genere. Largely because it's relatively easier to design a storyline where characters are lead from point A to point B and the GM keeps things more or less on track, than a framework where characters can literally do anything they want in pursuit of their goals (which might be relatively nebulous, like "Explore The Isle Of Dread to find treasure).

Way back before The Internet was so well travelled I remember how "White Wolf" games got kicked from Fidonet D&D because the attitude they encouraged was not considered to make them true "Role-Playing Games". Things of course changed over time, and I admit so have those games themselves, however I still pretty much subscribe to the logic that there is a differance between a "Roleplaying game" and a "Storytelling game". The focus of the former is for things to be resolved based on the abillities of a character, the focus of the latter is on weaving a narrative and telling a story with a bit of interactivity thrown in. One can have a "Storytelling Game" without needing dice or mechanics at all, as has been demonstrated more than a few times on various web sites, and even so called "statless RPGs" produced over the years. I however maintain that these things are NOT RPGs.

The reason why something like "Pac Man" can never be an RPG is because no matter how you define the story, and what motivations you add, success or failure is based entirely on the abillity of the player to manipulate a joystick in response to the game's stimuli. For it to be an RPG "Pac Man" would have a speed attribute, and the player would just say "Pac Man runs from the ghost" and whether he succeeds or fails is based on Pac Man's speed attribute, and perhaps a die roll to see if maybe something goes wrong (the element of chance, preventing this from becoming a bunch of kids playing army and screaming "I shot you, no I shot you!".

To be honest I increasingly feel that RPGs have a sort of intellectual "nerd cred" attached to them, and a lot of things today want to claim to be RPGs for that reason. The name "RPG" comes along with some assumptions about the abillities of the player, and the depth of the game compared to something which isn't an RPG.

The thing is though that it's all the numbers, desicians, and obscure ways of thinking that made RPGs "smart and nerdy" to begin with. It takes a certain way of thinking to understand a detailed RPG and be able to take pleasure in that kind of indirect control. In comparison simply acting out the roles of characters doesn't require anything really special in terms of thought or understanding. I mean some of the biggest morons in the world have been actors (especially bad ones), and pretty much everyone can get their head around it. At least in the US everyone has had a fantasy about being a big Hollywood star and acting in a movie at some point. Acting well *DOES* take talent, but let's be honest... when it comes to RPGs and such people generally are not acting well, just goofing off like a local school theater guild doing some improv when nobody else is around.

Pretty much everyone can get some entertainment from cinematics, and choosing dialogue options in a Bioware game for example. Not everyone can get entertainment from leveling up skills and modiying equipment to accomplish something. The increasing lack of the latter is what makes something like "Mass Effect 2" far less of an RPG than the first one was, because the quality of the story and voice acting and such has absolutly nothing to do with what makes an RPG what it is. I think a lot of people argue this fact because of "nerd chic" (well certain kinds of nerdism) and people wanting the "cred" as an RPG player so they can be a "1337 gamer nerd" and show how smart they are by talking about how they play RPGs.

See, with real RPGs back in the day, to figure out all the numbers, stats, and charts someone had to be fairly good at reading (and perhaps math depending on the game) just to be able to figure it out. I think people don't realize how things like 1E AD&D were written compared to say the newer editions which are greatly simplified. 1E AD&D pretty much assumed you at least had some college behind you and was written for that crowd just in how it explained things and the choice of words. To play a computer RPG was very simple, a lot of people didn't "get" the numbers and how someone could find entertainment in wandering around in white wire-line mazes in "Wizardry" or whatever, or what "Bob hits the Orc for 6 points of damage" or whatever was all about.

In comparison claiming you play some of the so called "RPGs" today just means you can work a controller/keyboard, and select dialogue options and such from a menu. If you were say 14 and could demonstrate you actually understood 1E AD&D back in the day, that would be a sign you were bright (not a genius, but you needed to have some brains), if today some 14 year old tells me he can play and understand "Mass Effect 2" (getting past the issue of whether he should be playing it due to the "M" rating) I don't think I, or anyone else, is going to be impressed by the requirements there.

Duck hunt, Space invaders, Pac-man, Frogger, Donkey Kong

Anybody got one of those different?

I am going to try my hand on one. It quite easy to guess what it is.

Space log 743: Omega Asteroid Field

They came out of nowhere. They destroyed the rest of the fleet. Our wepons were no use against their numbers. The Captain ordered that we retreat to the fields. His second in command said that it will be suicide. The Captain retorted that if we stayed here, it would be a death sentence. So, relunctly, we changed course toward the Omega Asteroid field and we all prayed for a miracle.

At first, there weren't that many asteroids. We used the energy cannon to blast away any obstuctions. The hositle forces tried to follow us in, but they had little luck. There were several that made it through, forcing us to engage combat. Individualy, they were relativly easy to defeat, as long as we can avoid their proton torpedos and stray astroids.

The frequency of astroids we are encountering are increasing. I am not so sure how much longer we can last. May god have mercy on our souls.

Broken Orange:
I am going to try my hand on one. It quite easy to guess what it is.

Space log 743: Omega Asteroid Field

They came out of nowhere. They destroyed the rest of the fleet. Our wepons were no use against their numbers. The Captain ordered that we retreat to the fields. His second in command said that it will be suicide. The Captain retorted that if we stayed here, it would be a death sentence. So, relunctly, we changed course toward the Omega Asteroid field and we all prayed for a miracle.

At first, there weren't that many asteroids. We used the energy cannon to blast away any obstuctions. The hositle forces tried to follow us in, but they had little luck. There were several that made it through, forcing us to engage combat. Individualy, they were relativly easy to defeat, as long as we can avoid their proton torpedos and stray astroids.

The frequency of astroids we are encountering are increasing. I am not so sure how much longer we can last. May god have mercy on our souls.

Really Good

The article ones were realy good too.

The Escapist Staff:
Videogames: The Untold Stories

Learn the real tales behind some of the best known games in videogame history.

Read Full Article

Will you guys post the best stories that the community comes up with? That would be awesome!

They were all brilliant. I loved the duck hunt one which was hilariously creative. I was wondering how the pup could handle bio-ducks until it turned out he was an experiment too!

Therumancer:
Interesting point of view, though I still disagree with it.

The problem with the logic is that Role-Playing Game means something very specific. It has to do with stats and problems being resolved totally independant of action from the player other than making a desician...

Snip snip. With hedgeclippers.

I think you're missing the point. "The Escapist" has postulated that all games are, in essence, Role-Playing Games because in all games, the Gamer Plays a Role. While this may seem to be an oversimplification, keep in mind that the first role playing games - the ones that you have thoroughly and helpfully elucidated - existed before video games, and as such were one of, if not the only outlets that statistically- and creatively-minded people had to assume an identity other than their own. It stands to reason that these players called their trade a "role-playing game" because it was the first instance in which players directly had influence over a set of characters and their parameters, as opposed to the harsh, stark chance of a die roll in Monopoly.

Now, all of our video games put us in the role of a character, a coach, or an omnipotent god-figure tasked with building something/destroying something. I understand you may be approaching RPGs from a purist's standpoint - "This is our terminology and no one else's!" but from a literal point of view, all games are role-playing games.

Also,

Therumancer:

The idea of the story being the most important aspect of an RPG is actually a fairly recent creation, and arguably the death of RPGs as a lot of arguements on that point seem to largely be intended as an excuse to get away from the mechanics, strategy, and tactics that otherwise defined the genere.

No. I'd say exactly the opposite, in fact. Roaming around "the Isle of Dread" to "go find treasure" is still a story, it's just more open than point a->point b->point c. To make the story an "unimportant" part of the experience would require you to A. not care why it's called The Isle of Dread, B. place treasure more or less wherever your dice tell you to, which is sloppy, and C. absolutely remove any semblance of conflict/resolution. No one wants to roam aimlessly around a countryside, which is exactly what you are implying, by saying a story is unimportant.

Therumancer:
Interesting point of view, though I still disagree with it. etc.

Sheesh, it was a joke. It was for fun. The day I ever take gaming that seriously is the day I sell all of my gaming equipment. Games don't always need to have in-depth stories to be good, especially the older ones, and these were just a bit of silliness to make the day better.

#2 is probably Space Invaders...but there are two things that bother me...

1) "They haven't made any aggressive moves yet" - but Space Invaders fire missiles at you...
2) "The cannon's got a decent range and mobility" - but the Space Invader's cannon only moves left to right...

My thought...Is there any reason this couldn't be Centipede??...

Therumancer:
I

No real plot, just an emulation of what would happen if one guy with X equipment and physical traits decided to take a hack at another one.

That's the beauty of it. It's a blank canvas, only you get to paint, not the story dept. you. It get you thinking. It makes your creativity take over. That is true Role Playing. You could role play as 2 space ships playing pass the bomb in a simple game of Pong. You could believe that you're pounding the world using falling blocks in a game of Tetris. You could even make your own story while playing Pokemon Yellow. The point is that you are supposed to be in charge of the story for maximum playability. I'd be honest, when not playing the story in GTA 4, I act as a normal citizen of Liberty City, act as a hard boiled cop in Saint's Row 2, as a pacifist in Iron Man, the evil-est FBI agent in Red Dead Redemption, and many more personalities in many more games.

duquedelsol:
#2 is probably Space Invaders...but there are two things that bother me...

1) "They haven't made any aggressive moves yet" - but Space Invaders fire missiles at you...
2) "The cannon's got a decent range and mobility" - but the Space Invader's cannon only moves left to right...

My thought...Is there any reason this couldn't be Centipede??...

They only fire missiles once they get close to the planet's surface. When they first spotted them, they were still a ways off. And it's "decent" mobility, not awesome mobility. So it's not fixed in place, but it can only go back and forth.

Therumancer:
*snip*

Certainly an interesting argument, but a bit out of place in this particular thread, given that this is clearly a lighthearted take on the notion, and not a serious discussion. One of the other articles from this issue, or perhaps the Ed Note, might be a more appropriate place for this kind of post.

I apologize beforehand for spelling and grammar, I've tried my best to get it right.

I frantically searched the drawers of the desk. Where the hell was it? It HAD to be here, I had searched the entire building already. I pulled out the last drawer and turned it upside down, emptying the contents on the floor. But there was no luck. It wasn't there. "Shit!" I muttered and threw away the drawer. Why wasn't it here? Was the intel wrong? Everything was supposed to be here. I'd found the other objectives, where the hell was the key? I stared at the papers on the floor while trying to organize my thoughts. Where was the key?

"Damn it" I thought to myself. "I'll have to go through every room again". Annoyed, I grabbed the briefcase and walked to the door leading to the next room. I opened it and entered the dark room while searching for the lightswitch with my left hand. I then heard the familiar sound of someone cocking a revolver. I quickly looked into the mostly dark room and saw the silhouette of a man in front of me. He was pointing something at me, most likely the revolver I'd heard not even a second ago. I didn't stop to ask what it was. I flung the briefcase at him and rushed to the side. He fired at me but missed as the briefcase hit has hands. He dropped the weapon and I tackled him up against the wall. I tried to punch him but he blocked it and headbutted me, breaking my nose. I stumbled backwards as he lunged towards me and hit me with a quick left and a hard uppercut. The wall behind me saved me from falling down as I quickly pulled out the knife I had found earlier. I jammed the knife into his left collarbone. He screamed in agony and I used the opportunity to attack him with a flurry of punches followed by a forceful kick to the gut. He fell backwards and landed flat on his back in the corner of the room.

He didn't try to get up. He weakly sobbed, probably because of the knife still stuck in his collarbone. I looked towards the door and saw the lightswitch. I turned on the lights and looked at the man in the corner.

"Well I'll be damned." I smiled triumphantly. "Agent Whight, who else could it be?" I walked towards Whight and took a knee next to him. "You know, we really gotta stop seeing eachother like this, someone always gets hurt". Whight didn't answer, he stared at the knife stuck in him while tears ran down his face. I caught a glimpse of something in the corner of my eye. I turned my head and saw it. The key. I looked at Whight again. "Whight, did you have the key? You know I've been looking all over for it." I got up and grabbed the key. Looked just like a regular key, but the inscription on it matched. I picked up the briefcase and put the key inside it. I turned to Whight again who was still on the floor.

"You've gone soft Whight. I remember the first time we met, what was it, 20 years ago? I threw everything I had at you but couldn't keep you down. I've poisoned you, set you on fire, blown you to pieces... Nothing worked. And now, here you are, finally staying down, from a stabwound?" I turned away and headed towards the closed door that would get me out of the building. "Everyone has to retire sooner or later Whight" I said as I opened the door.

My next words never left my mouth. Not because I decided to be quiet but because the acid from the bucket above the door made me forget my words. I fell to my knees, staring blankly in front of me. I felt the acid burning me, my head, my shoulders, my arms, hands, legs, everything. Whight calmly walked up behind me and took the briefcase from my hand. I couldn't stop him, my hand fell off a second ago. I looked up at Whight who smirked at me. "You know, agent Blache... wait, how do you pronounce that? Blaschee?" 'Black' I tried to tell him, but I couldn't. My tongue was gone. "Anyway" Whight continued, "I didn't get 'soft' like you put it. I just got smart." He started laughing and left the building, leaving me to suffer the rest of my life. Which, admittedly, was about 4 seconds.

The Escapist Staff:
Videogames: The Untold Stories

Learn the real tales behind some of the best known games in videogame history.

Read Full Article

You mean the whole article is made up of just fanfics? Been done.

great read and what was your game trucken?

the games are in this order
duck hunt
space invaders
pac-man
frogger
the original donkey kong

Try to guess this game. It's a doozy guys and girls!

The sun began to rise. A new day has come. The gentle breeze is blowing the air gently across my long locks.

I step out in the open to see nature in all it's glory...

but something is amiss...something is not right.

No birds chirping, no squirrels in the trees.

I think silently to my self: Something is definitely wrong here.

I run into the meadow to see if I can find anyone else.
I am mortified to what I find. The land has become utterly misshapen. I see new geographic formations all around me. Could it have been what my friend call an "Earthquake"?
No.
This is not natural. The ground is covered with metallic substances metal stalactites and strange red flowers.
What's this? I seen a fellow creature in the distance.
I run towards it. finally someone can tell me what has happened. I feel so relived, but as i get close the creature glares at me.
I reach out to it. Try to let it know that I'm a friend...
then I see it. It's body covered in a metal. It's eyes looking distant, and yet so full of rage!
It lunges at me! I try to run away but trip and end up tumbling into it!
The force of the tumble destroys the creatures metallic shell and it is free now, but before I could ask it anything it runs away in fear. The look on it's face is sheer terror as it scampers away. I decide to search for more clues.
As I travel I come more strange metallic creatures. Each of which, also acting so violently. I attempt to free them all, but there are just to many. I also come across the golden "shining objects". When i touch them the absorb into my body. giving me strength, and more agility. The more i collect the stronger and safer i feel. It feel so good...like being one with the planet.

I continue running through the vast, misshapen meadow running through obstacles trying me best to survive
suddenly i see a 2 large object in the distance.
One in a dome shape. I can hear more creatures crying out for help from inside it. The other object has a strange unfamiliar creature. It is large an has a pink head with strange fur coming from it's even stranger looking nose.
It turns and see's me. I suddenly jumps into a strange metal structure, and charges at me. It hits me but i seem unharmed, but i feel the energy from the golden objects fading away.
The creature turns around for another charge this time i jump.
I face turns to terror as i land on its head. This seems to hurt the malicious creature. I continue to attack it in the same fashion several more time.
suddenly the metal shell becomes red and is covered in fire!It breaks apart. The evil creature then becomes angry and begins t fly away toward a large metal forest. I want to chase to find out if it is the one responcible for destroying my land and imprisoning my friends, but first i must release the creatures in the metal dome.

After I have freed the animals from the dome,I look to the distance at the metal forest. I sense great darkness coming from it. I'm fell scared, but I know I must go.
That pink "egg-shaped thing". i know it's there waiting for me..
but i have to go. I must find out what has happened to my home.
I sense it will be a long battle.... I wonder if i will make it...but even if it stop that pink egg thingy, will my home ever be the same again?

Brilliant Article, really. I was laughing so much, and genuinely intrigued by some of the stories.

I love your work, keep up the quality! :D.

Therumancer:
Interesting point of view, though I still disagree with it.

The problem with the logic is that Role-Playing Game means something very specific. It has to do with stats *snip*

Stopped reading there. Stop reading "Role-Playing Game" as "Roll-Playing Game".

OT: Silly fanfics are silly and such parodies are done, done, DONE!

twaddle:
Try to guess this game. It's a doozy guys and girls!

Snipity snip

Took me a minute, but I'm now 95% sure that this is Sonic the Hedgehog, back when it was awesome.

The Escapist Staff:
Videogames: The Untold Stories

Learn the real tales behind some of the best known games in videogame history.

Read Full Article

Ah the magic of lsd.

Cool article though lol, yes the possible storylines of earlier games is endless.

And yeah the "every game is a role playing game" bit is actually pretty old.

twaddle:
Game Stuff

It's definitely Sonic the Hedgehog.

i race snails:
great read and what was your game trucken?

It was Spy vs. Spy. I tried to give clues with the names (Whight=White and Blache=Black) but it was a bit of a stretch. I had fun writing it though.

For all those who ever had an old nokia mobile phone.

Hissy the snake saw a flash, almost only a pixel. A square was sitting on the floor near him.
Left, down, right.........Omn nom nom.

The square was delicious and made hissy feel stronger and somewhat longer (A great feeling for a snake) He saw a new 'pixel like' square sitting close by, overtaken by an almost hypnotizing surge with no way of stopping Hissy lunged at the square overcome by feelings of greed and want

Right, Up, Right......Omn nom nom.

Another feeling of wonderment he was stronger, longer and hungry for more. A new square appeared behind him, near one of the walls of his pen, Slithering as fast as he could slither Hissy shot towards the square in an attempt to prolong this feeling of euphoria he was lost in. Darting alongside the square he just had do go....

Down.......Game over!

"What!"

Hissy spat through his forked tongue. The feeling had ceased, no more was he the long menacing snake he once was. He was addicted, a new game was the only thing for it, He knew what to do this time he would become the longest snake of all.
He ate square after square, again and again, each time becoming longer and longer Hissy was unstoppable in his lust for more Squares.

Another one appeared sitting just near his tail

Down, left, up.......CRUNCH!

Hissy had eaten himself Game over.

And so continues the never-ending cycle of snake on square violence, forever ending in the eventual collapse of the aggressor, the snake. Some say this act is a metaphor for the modern consumer's rampant, malicious greed but those people also think tea cozy hats are also a good idea silly very silly.
END

Why don't you try to figure this one out? It's fairly simple, I've placed a lot of clues in it.

Battle Log: 1988, Some island stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Corporal Rizer, first log.
We have successfully landed at the island and have been prepped for combat.
The force includes Corporal Bean and myself, this mission is a strict "get in, get out" deal, no time for sight seeing.
The mission is to destroy something that has been code named "Red Falcon" I figure if we blow up enough stuff we are bound to destroy the "Red Falcon" easily.
The military tried to outfit us with heavy armor and heavy weaponry, we both just laughed and picked up our trusty submachine guns and started walking out, we didn't need armor. We eventually caved, no special gear no mission apparently, our guns were outfitted with something. Can't really say for sure but the head of the R&D promised it would help us somehow.
Log ended.

Battle Log: 1988, base of waterfall
Corporal Rizer, second log.
There isn't anyone alive here besides me and Bean, all our enemies have been androids and security systems so far. Nothing that looks like a "Red Falcon" yet though. Also, the upgrade our guns got was to get new types of firepower, it's awesome, machine guns, shotguns, flamethrowers and laser guns. I'll have to thank those eggheads back home for giving us these prototypes.
Log ended.

Battle Log: 1988, snow fields
Corporal Rizer, third log
Bean's thinking about wimping out due to the cold, I just smacked him and reminded him that if we didn't complete this mission then I'd have to kick his ass. The security's getting tighter, we must be getting closer to the "Red Falcon" then. Can't wait to see the "Falcon" as I destroy it. That destruction is the only thing that keeps me warm honestly, good thing I'm never letting Lance see this.
Log ended.

Battle Log: 1988, some kind of energy plant
Corporal Bean, first log.
I swear we just blew up a UFO, it was crazy. I hope Bill's right, that it was just some high tech security system. The "Red Falcon" must be close, as far as I can see, there's a lot of security up ahead, these androids don't stand a chance against Bill Rizer and Lance Bean though.
Log ended.

Battle Log: 1988, just outside a hive
Corporal Rizer, fourth log.
Holy crap, we have been fighting aliens this whole time! I should have seen this coming, I thought that huge alien head was just a fancy security turret and that UFO was just a drone but no, there are aliens here. This is awesome, by the layout of the island we were given before landing, going into this hive will lead us to the core of the island, that must be the "Red Falcon" that we were sent to destroy. Lance has his machine gun and I have my shotgun, let's get down to business.
Log ended.

Battle Log: 1988, just outside a hive
Corporal Bean, second log.
I knew it, aliens do exist. Now it's my job to blow them up, I finally get to do what I've always wanted to do. I've got my machine gun loaded up and Bill has his shotgun, let's rock this place.
Log ended.

Blitzkrieg64:
Why don't you try to figure this one out? It's fairly simple, I've placed a lot of clues in it.

-snip-

Hmmm... I'm guessing Contra?

Hilarious, imagination is truly a wondrous thing.

aithilin:

The Escapist Staff:
Videogames: The Untold Stories

Learn the real tales behind some of the best known games in videogame history.

Read Full Article

You mean the whole article is made up of just fanfics? Been done.

(sigh) There's always at least one...

Awesome. There was a Space Invaders story in one of the short stories issues, way back now. It was really well done. Not to say that these little bites aren't good, it's nice to see a little bit of fiction on the site, I haven't seen a fiction issue for ages now.

Trucken:

Blitzkrieg64:
Why don't you try to figure this one out? It's fairly simple, I've placed a lot of clues in it.

-snip-

Hmmm... I'm guessing Contra?

Yep. Told you it was simple, I just changed a couple of details, calling the spreadgun a shotgun, using "Red Falcon" as an unknown entity instead of the terrorist group's name, the origin of Bill and Lance's guns and the reason everything and everyone except Bill or Lance explodes is because they were androids and security systems. I've been playing the game a lot so it's the only thing I could come up with.

I'm not good with stories but someone should do one about paper boy

Edit: Nevermind.

I enjoyed those, nice.

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