Monday, June 21, 2010

Video Games I’d Like to See, Part 1: High-Scoring Horror




Last week, video gamers got a preview of things to come from the big players in interactive digital entertainment at this year’s E3 convention in Los Angeles, CA. (For comprehensive coverage of this event, my personal choice is IGN.) I consider myself to be a casual gamer and an avid fan of the Nintendo Wii; thus, the Wii games which were previewed at E3 that I think have great promise are Conduit 2, Lego Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Epic Mickey.

Still, for as much as E3 presented for the near-term future of video gaming, I couldn’t help but to be disappointed at what was missing—namely, more stuff for horror and animation. Sure, they’ve got sequels to F.E.A.R., Dead Rising and Dead Space and a reboot of Splatterhouse coming out for horror, and then there’s Batman: Brave and the Bold and the aforementioned Epic Mickey for those hankering for more traditional ‘toons in their video games. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of room for both in the realm of video game entertainment, and I’ll be using this two-part post (starting with horror, and then animation) to toss out ideas of what I think would be great game ideas to fill in the void. Read on . . .

Title #1: Swamp Monster, a one-player, third person action-horror game which places you as a recently awakened prehistoric amphibious fish man who fights and terrorizes his way through multiple levels to return to his ancestral home deep in the Amazon. Levels include terrorizing scientists on the Amazon River, fighting other monstrous denizens of the deep, attacking tourists at a water theme park, and scaring the daylights out of drunken co-eds on Spring Break in Florida. Use your superhuman strength to break open doors, throw cars and police officers, and bend apart steel bars. Use your swimming skills to evade capture, find new points of attack, and drag victims to their watery doom.


Source of Idea: There are plenty of games on the market where gamers can play as superheroes, armed mercenaries, high-tech spies and medieval heroes, but the number that allow you to play as a marauding, man-eating monster are definitely in the minority. Sure, you have Aliens vs. Predator games, the Destroy All Humans series and Jaws Unleashed, but that’s it. A game like Swamp Monster, which would essentially be Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Game, would allow players to unleash their nasty, brutish selves and terrorize hapless victims by the dozens.

Title #2: Bug Bug Invasion, where players control giant insects and arachnids at various locations with the sole purpose of eating lots and lots of humans. As a giant spider, you will lurk in the shadows of a waterfront warehouse district, looking for fresh prey to entangle in webs and devour. As a giant ant, you will defend your colony in the sewers of a city from attack while taking human soldiers to the queen’s nest to feed young larvae. As a giant scorpion, you will lay waste to a desert military base by flipping tanks with your giant pincers and stinging soldiers with your deadly tail. As a giant wasp, you will protect your nest (which is perched atop a skyscraper) and patrol the streets for fresh food to bring back for dining.


Source of Idea: When I played Deadly Creatures on the Wii, I thought that it was a fantastic idea to make players assume a perspective which makes otherwise mundane situations (junk yards, gas stations, etc.) look almost completely alien. Big Bug Invasion would be much like Deadly Creatures, just bigger and bloodier with a 1950s-era atomic age kick.

Title #3: NecroMaster, where players complete various missions to assemble an army of the undead and the unnatural. Find fresh parts by digging up graves, breaking into mortuaries, and stealing cadavers from animal shelters and medical facilities. Once you return to your lab after each mission, you’ll cut and stitch the parts into new creatures for the purpose of reanimation. When your army is complete and active, you’ll seize control of the city and make it your own personal necropolis.


Source of Idea: Breaking and entering locations and committing tasks of various acts of skullduggery to complete missions is nothing new to video games. However, when I saw how the Trauma Center series of games for the Wii introduced the idea of using the Wiimote to perform surgery, I knew that there was a brand new level of morbid fun just waiting to be explored in gaming. Taking cues from Frankenstein and Reanimator, NecroMaster would let players use their Wiimotes to perform all sorts of post-mortem perversions on body assembly stages, and then use their Wiimotes as shovels, crowbars, and other blunt objects during the corpse stealing stages. It’s digital grave desecration for all ages!

Title #4: Possession City, where players find themselves in a city overrun by a mass possession. Otherworldly spirits possess both animate and inanimate objects alike, leaving the streets filled with possessed people, animals, statues, cars, trees, and even small buildings. Players will move between locations within the city (a library, a hospital, a church, a college campus, etc.) to find clues as to who and what is behind the possessions, and even find helpful allies along the way. But be warned: Even after you work hard to gain the trust of others, they may suddenly succumb to possession and you’ll be stuck fighting for your life at any moment.


Source of Idea: When I played the video game sequel to The Thing back in 2002, I thought it had the coolest team building mechanic in any game that I’ve ever played. Not only did you have to win over their trust by providing them with weapons and ammo, but they could also become so paralyzed with fear that they could run away during combat or even commit suicide. Indeed, I can’t think of one other game I’ve played where a team member is so afraid that he’ll go in the corner of a room and off himself rather than face the monstrosities lurking in the dark. Add to that the possibility that a team member could become a Thing at any moment, and you’ve got some serious tension and shocks going for you. Possession City would follow that mechanic at specific locations with the intermediary stages similar to Grand Theft Auto where players fight their way through the streets and steal non-possessed cars to get to their destinations.

Title #5: Wii Sports Resort: Zombie Apocalypse Edition, where players use various Wii sport resort gear (fencing swords, golf clubs, bowling balls, Frisbees, bows and arrows, etc.) to fight their way through hordes of zombies on Wuhu Island to find the right parts to fix their seaplane and escape before it’s too late. Use jet skis, bicycles and Segues to move around the island. Watch your inventory of Miis turn into ravenous cannibal corpses!


Source of Idea: Come on, like this idea never occurred to you if you’re a Wii fan, have Wii Sports Resort and you love zombie movies. Wuhu Island is an ideal virtual location for an outbreak of the undead, and the Wii Motion Plus accessory is just begging to be used to pull off wicked awesome zombie head shots and beheadings.



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