The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Game Ideas #1

Posted by Matt on August 29, 2009

(Note: I originally wrote this in April. I’m reposting this so I can continue on with my game ideas posts without confusing the lot of ya’. Also because I like them.)

I’ve been thinking a bit about directions established game franchises can go to stay good. The problem with most gamers is that they are creatively retarded, and just want the same thing over and over again (while still whining that the games are rehashes). Me, though, I’m allllll right.

So now I’m going to talk about some game concepts I came up with. Why not? I’m sure I’ve done it before.

And what better way to start talking about videogame franchise ideas than with the videogame franchise?

Idea: Super Mario Metropolis

Now, it seems like a bit of a downgrade to take Mario from space back down to earth, and then restrict him to a certain environment, like a city. But wait! There’s more to it!

The story would be the basic one: Mario & Peach travel to the biggest city around, Peach is captured by Bowser, Mario must save her because that’s what he does. However, he’s got bigger problems: not only is the Princess locked a high rise tower that he can’t seem to get into, but he’s also constantly being chased around by police robots working with Bowser. Still not that much of a departure? Here’s the big catch: Mario himself teams up with a robot to save the day once again.

One of things I’ve noticed with most Wii games is that they usually only subscribe to one of the ideas that are possible for the system. That is usually the aiming or shaking concepts. There’s a lot more possible with this thing, and I hope to combine some of the old and unused ideas in here. See, players control both Mario and the robot, the former with the nunchuck, and the latter with the remote. Mario would get his usual abilities, which can easily be assigned to the nunchuck buttons. The robot would be a bit more complicated.

I haven’t completely figured out the specifics of the robot’s control scheme. Should he move with the d-pad, or by pointing? The pointing would seem to be necessary for some of the robot’s unique skills (long range weapons, for example, similar to the star bit shooting in Galaxy). Does the robot need to move at all? In any case, the general idea would be that you would control both characters simultaneously using each half of the controller package. Co-op play could be an option, too. This seems like a pretty basic idea, so I wonder why so few have used it before?

The game would be equal parts Mario, Pikmin, and The Lost Vikings. You will need to utilize Mario and the robot to solve the games puzzles. This will make some objectives easier (how much more relaxing would the average “take this thing from here to over here” challenge be with back-up?) and some more difficult, as you try to get down the timing and placement of both characters down pat. There might be a few sections where the two are separated, and you only have to pay attention to one of them at a time. There’s plenty of possibilities.

The basic “find the MacGuffins” gameplay would remain, but with a twist: instead of collecting 120 magic objects, you collect various machine parts, much like Pikmin. By collecting the appropriate combination of parts, Mario can use them to upgrade his robot buddy, granting him even more new abilities. The robot could transform into vehicles, and essentially work like a combination of the FLUDD from Mario Sunshine and the various power-ups from every other Mario game. Many of them would also be able to utilize various remote functions to add some variety.

Not only do these new abilities give you access to more challenges and thus more parts, they can also be used to bypass the security and traps and get further and further into Bowser’s skyscraper fortress. This is similar to the structure I had for my Zelda game idea, which I’m pretty sure I mentioned before, but should probably go into further detail about another time. It’s a different kind of game structure, one that progresses in a way that you feel a lot more part of it.

Of course, all this talk and I don’t address one major problem: level variety. One thing people didn’t like about Sunshine was that the island setting limited the different environments in the game, while on the other hand Galaxy was nearly limitless. The same problem could come up in Metropolis, but there are ways around it. A big city has lots of places to go that could provide suitable Mario worlds to explore: the park, the mall, the sewers, amusement parks, docks, factories, clock towers…and let’s not forget the big city itself. Each of these could also be expanded to include the archetypes (ice, lava, etc.), but maybe we don’t need them again. Just a thought.

There’s still some unanswered questions in this pitch, but even so, I think the basic groundwork for something good. Really, though, I just like the idea of Mario working with a robot.

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