Anna Anthropy, the writer of Auntie Pixelante, has written an interesting post about Masocore games: games that screw with the conventions of video games and the expectations of the player.
trees full of apples. unassuming, you stride under one, and an apple falls from the tree and crushes you, sending you back to the start of the screen. you approach again, this time cautiously poking your nose out under the tree in an attempt to goad the apple into falling before you pass. you don’t jump back in time, you get crushed. this time it works, and you begin carefully making your way across a screen full of apple trees. some apples only fall in pairs, and you have to dodge between the two. sometimes you can jump at an apple to spook it into falling early. about halfway across, you notice an apple low enough you can jump over it. tired of the tedious apple-teasing, you graciously accept the respite of an apple you won’t have to dodge mid-fall. you jump over the apple, and the apple falls up and kills you. the apple falls up and kills you.
Very interesting. I am noticing a stronger tendency to play with the medium’s conventions, but I don’t know if that is because I am paying more attention to indie games these days or because there are more indie games or people actually are playing more the medium’s conventions… or all three. Yes, I know people have been doing this for a while – I am talking about a perceived increase. In any case, I think it’s a good thing.