Friday, September 9, 2011
Originally published from 1981 to 1985 (and resurrected later), Electronic Games was one of the first periodicals devoted entirely to videogames (as they wrote it as one single word). In their March 1982 issue (#3) they had "A Humorous Look at Some Unlikely Future Videogames." I'm sure what they came up with was terribly funny in 1982. Some of it still is. But you know what'd be even more fun? Digging their "ridiculous" ideas up now and see how many of them have since been made into actual video games!
Now their descriptions are sometimes awfully detailed and represent to a degree the technological status of 1982, as well as the general state of the industry, so we'll be counting games that follow the same general concept, or even just include the proposed main elements (after all, games have grown more complex in general, and many of the ideas on their own would nowadays be dismissed as overly simple). Do comment, of course, if you know any more fine examples.
While not following the "exact" same story premise and they don't (predominantly) take place on the freeway, the Crazy Taxi games would be an almost perfect fulfillment of the basic idea for the gameplay.
The screenshot that I think was supposed to go with it (although it gives the game a different title) on the other hand looks much closer to Carmageddon, while it also resembles the top-down view GTA games in their habit to distribute points for killing pedestrians.
Holy crap, that's a risque concept! I still don't think we'll ever see that one in a commercial game, unless you count X-Com.
I vaguely remember nuclear weapon technology being somewhat of a big deal in Civilization as an optional research, then later the nuclear strike in Command & Conquer as a straight wargame? Nowadays nuclear war in video games sounds almost trivial, doesn't it?
Prom Night Massacre
This is kinda a cool concept, like a slasher movie with one player being the mysterious killer and the other one of the potential victims. Could somehow work as an online game where the two (or more) players genuinely have know means of knowing who's the killer, and that card is dished out randomly at the beginning of each round. I'm sure there must be something like that at least as an optional mode in any game, even if lacking the prom night scenario?
They really could have foreseen this, couldn't they? Double Dragon, River City Ransom, GTA, Mafia, The Warriors, whatever. Next!
Medflies / Deluxe Medflies
Maybe for Harvest Moon 25: Industrial Edition?
Gladiator games are legion, too. This started very early on with games like the 1986 arcade 1-on-1 fighter Gladiator, more recently we'd gotten Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance and Colosseum: Road to Freedom, some of the Asterix games, too. Shadow of Rome even tied the fights into a huge epic narrative, sporting the complete package of wild animal fights, gladiator rumbles and chariot races. The latter have been explored quite frequently as well (Computer Circus Maximus, Coliseum, Ben Hur 2000, Circus Maximus: Chariot Wars).
I think putting players in control of the wild animals would be new, though (or maybe there's an unlockable in one of the aforementioned games that I don't know about). The whole Christian convert angle promises hilarity, too.
PADI Scuba Scare
Why hasn't this concept been exploited more often, actually? There are a couple of diving-themed games for 8-bit systems, but most are rather simple shmups. The only true simulation is Sea Rogue, released in 1992, where the actual diving is just one part of the whole expedition you have to plan from the ground-up, including hiring divers, scientists and engineers. The rival here is always CPU-controlled, though.
Afterwards many games have dabbled with stages where you're diving for treasure, from Super Mario 64 to Ninja Gaiden (Xbox), but a modern, competetive diving action/simulation? Hell, yeah!
This has been done so many times in homebrew games, only from the opposite angle. The commercial consequence would be Bully / Canis Canem Edit. The teacher perspective, however, would be... quite boring, I think. (Though I'm sure there are enough Japanese teacher-student porn games to make up for it.)
This is also kinda contained in GTA (although you're hunted by the feds there, they're just as bloodthirsty as soon as you hit a 2-star wanted level).
Done in Life and Death (the sequel carries the even more fitting subtitle The Brain), in an even more macabre manner than it is described here. Take Trauma Center for the less tongue-in-cheek approach.
Political simulations with a focus on corrupt activities are typically set not as close to home, favourably in fictional third-world or communist countries (Tropico series), or in historical settings (Merchant Prince).
The article also has a list of "coming-soons":
Video Horseshoes (almost certainly done as a mini-game somewhere)
JAA Championship Jacks (ehrm... no.)
Potato Yields in Brecklovik, Russia (most definitely not)
Video Coin Toss (mini game in many Soccer simulations. And in Shenmue II, but there you always lose)
Natural Disasters (Disaster Report says hello)
Video Iconoclasm (WTF? There's an indie metroidvania whith the title Iconoclasts!)
Actual game screenshots borrowed from Abandonia (Life & Death 2), Strategy Informer (Shadow of Rome, The Warriors), Mobygames (Sea Rogue) and Game Breakers (Carmageddon).