Thursday, 14 July 2011


I remember one time I was at a friend's house, and we played Halo 2 online. We joined a custom game where they were playing by rules they made up. It was called "Zombie". I don't know if it started there, or was carried over from a different game. It was based on honour rules. If you died by the enemy's hand, you had to manually switch over to the enemy's team, and now must face your former comrades. Like how after you've been bitten by a zombie, you become a part of the same mindless horde that took you down.

People liked this enough for it to be a built-in game mode in Perfect Dark Zero and Halo 3. No more having to go in and change teams by hand.

Then Gears of War 2 had the "Horde" mode, where victory is impossible and the only real goal is to see how long you can last against waves of increasingly dangerous opposition. The end is inevitable, the goal being to see how long you can cheat death. People liked this enough, so Left 4 Dead put in "Survival" mode, and Halo gave us "Firefight".

Then games like Dark Void gave us Jetpacks(although they were around during the Duke Nukem and Tribes times, they were out of vogue until recently.) We liked those, so now they're back apparently.

Do you see a pattern here? If we chart this trajectory, perhaps we can determine what the next big "It" thing will be for the competitive online games to try and ape from each other. So now that we've got Zombies, Endurance modes and Jetpacks... what's next?

If videos of Gears 3 and Section 8: Prejudice are any example:


And also Mechs.

Personally, I'd rather have decent characterization, writing, pacing and polished game mechanics and controls. But I'm not gonna turn down a big, clomper-stomping robot-suit either. Or maybe a gun that shoots cats.

I call it the "Catling Gun".



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