*Dissecting Gameplay* Over the course of video game history, there have been a lot of gameplay mechanics used and a evolution of some gameplay mechanics. As game designers, it can be easy to overlook certain gameplay mechanics or not even notice certain ones at all. That's why it's important to look at and understand gameplay mechanics and how they can improve or change a game entirely.
This is a discussion about gameplay mechanics. It's facts. It's opinions. It's about understanding. It's about awareness. I don't have all the answers and I don't want to have all the answers. It's just a way to collaboratively delve deeper into many different types of mechanics.
Let's look at the gameplay mechanic: Jumping.
We all know what jumping is. We see it in every day lives and it's saturated all over video games. So many games use it and I've never taken the time to break it down. That led me to wonder, how is jumping used?
Up until I actually thought about it, I didn't realize how often or the different ways jumping was used. Some of these I subconsciously understood as I used them probably for the intended purpose but knowing about they do specifically can open the door for more ideas.
- Jumping has been used to reach different heights
- Hop on top of different things to defeat enemies
- Defeating enemies
- Evasive Maneuvers
- Strike higher objects
- Shortcuts (mario kart)
- Offensive maneuvers
- Power-up (Zelda)
What others are there?
Jumping is also use in a wide variety of different genres too which shows it doesn't have only one purpose like reaching higher heights.
Jumping has been in video games for so long, people can tell by the genre whether or not the game will incorporate jumping or not. To me, it's become something like a habit. I don't even realize I'm doing it anymore. But I wonder about what if certain games didn't have jumping. Could they still be fun? What if Super Mario Bros. 3 didn't have jumping and if it didn't, how bad would it affect the design of the game?Here's an example of Super Mario Bros. 3 with jumping.
Here's an example of the game played without jumping.
Just think about all that has to change in this level alone without jumping. The level design has to go into a totally different direction. That Goomba would no longer be there. The "?" blocks would have to be changed. You can forget jumping over the pipes. Cliffs would have to become solid ground to walk over. Flying? Nope. One more example of the game without jumping
Again, the level design would have to change. The developers clearly wanted the player to know that jumping is something they're going to have to get used to. Two times the first thing the player has to do is jump--the second over a silly pipe. Here's an example of another genre of game, Super Smash Bros. using jumping.
This is the same game without jumping.
Combos and other things cannot be done without jumping. Not just in Smash Bros but other games too. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 comes to mind. Launchers sure wouldn't exist.
In what games have you seen jumping used successfully? Where have you seen games use jumping unsuccessfully or needlessly? How has jumping evolved as a gameplay mechanic? It's a simple concept but let's talk about jumping!