Gaming Massively

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

the game within a game

A post over at female gamer made me think more about sub-games. The post is all about the new chicken game in LotRO, in which our intrepid hero (that'd be you) is transformed into a chicken to complete some quests. The idea, at least as I have seen it proposed and discussed, is that you have a quick game within the game that you can pick up and put down.

I thought there were a couple of revealing things about the review of the chicken play - the most interesting was that although it was possible for the player to suspend disbelief enough to accept they were a sword-carrying hobbit (or whatever), they then wanted internal consistency - having your character suddenly turn into a chicken without a good reason was unacceptable. I think this is an interesting point about these games - once you have changed the rules of logic, don't go fiddling with them anymore.

The subgame concept also made me think of what I consider the most brilliant application of the concept - Legends of Norrath. This is a customizable card game built directly into EverQuest and EverQuest 2. Absolutely brilliant! I love the idea. It's like playing the Yu Gi Oh cartoon! Actually, I don't know how it's been implemented, but I really enjoy the concept.

I think this is an area that will only grow in the future - I mean, why not do something like Yahoo Games, where you walk into a bar in your favorite MMO, and can pull up a chair (and a virtual frosty one) and demolish that arrogant level 7000 warrior in a game of chess? Sure, he'll liquefy you and have his pet eat the remains because he's a bad loser, but you'll know you pwned his king in six moves.

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