Gameplay Fetishes

I was interested to see that a lot of the SB love for Breath of the Wild references the fact that you can climb pretty much anything outside of a dungeon. Personally, that’s the number one thing I wanna do in any open world game with mountains and such, but I didn’t realize that was A Thing.

It got me ta’thinkin’: I have a bunch of other gameplay fetishes. I wonder how many of those are shared by other SBers? I wonder what you other weirdos are obsessed with? So this is that.

My Initial List:

Climbing All Over The Damn Place: exploration is a big thing for me in games in general, but to me “exploration” in games can be done both geographically and in terms of ruleset. The first thing I would do in any RPG as a kid was to try to sequence break or to beat unbeatable bosses or whatever. Sometimes, the exploration of virtual geographies and ruleset breaking go hand in hand. Case in point: my trying to climb mountains in Shadow of the Collossus and losing my shit when I realized that you actually can grab and “ride” a hawk in that game (via YouTube). I don’t just want an open world, I want exploratory actions to engage it with. Climbing is one of them.

Jumping Real High Like Fwoosh: in a more urban environment jumping is even cooler than climbing (though they go well together). Crackdown is my ultimate for this. I want to be able to create my own risk/reward scenarios by taking crazy improvised shortcuts. I want the a phenomenological simulation of crazy leaping. I dream about jumping over buildings sometimes. Jumping Flash has this too, but it’s really lacking without a climbing ability to engage with the vertical faces of buildings, thus creating the tension and elation of a hazardous climb.

Hackable Systems/Economies: I love a good deal, and there’s nothing I love more than finding loopholes in systems that create more than you put in. Odin Sphere is the ultimate of this. It has three or four interlocking economies that allow you to come up with tons of weird combinations. Pokemon is also good for this: give Snorlax a move that multiplies it’s attack by 6x but cuts its HP in half. Then give it a berry that heals half it’s HP when it’s down to 1/3 HP, but also giving it an ability that makes it eat the berry when it’s at 1/2 HP. Now give it a move that brings the berry back whenever it wants. I live for this shit.

Scavenging: I’ve only really liked this in Odin Sphere, but it paired so beautifully with the other economies that I think when done well it’s fantastic. Basically: a limited inventory, but the ability to craft things from resources around you. It ends up engaging loot as constituent resources, which is a cooler implementation of loot feels. I kind of wanted to try that Conan MMO, because it seemed to be all about this.

Recruiting Sweet Peeps: Suikoden, but even moreso Tactics Ogre: Knights of Lodis. The risk/reward of recruiting an enemy mid battle is so cool, and it turns every battle into a shopping spree. Like, “oooooh, that’s a cool hawkman Archer. I want that.”. Like loot, but it’s people.


look, man, I just like double jumping. I’m sorry, video games. I’m the problem


I considered including double jumping in my jumping like fwoosh write-up, but I think it’s distinct.

I think you need to combine double jumping with wall jump (and/or wall stick) to get me really excited. I mean. Who’s going to argue that Knytt and N+ don’t have great mechanics? But I think this only applies to snappy 2-D implementations. I don’t think the metaphor makes spatial sense in 3-D.

Sticking to walls was another runner up, because the PSX GitS game is so perfect, but I don’t know if I necessarily love that mechanic so much as it’s implementation in that game.

Though Gravity Rush is basically the only console game I’ve committed to playing in almost a decade, and that has something to do with its core mechanics. I think it has more to do with snappy flying though. I basically wish it were a collectathon, and I don’t enjoy any other collectathon.

Bafflingly overfeatured character creation suites

Slow realtime combat where all the moves have major heft and perilous cooldown times


I like doing busywork in games. I could spend a few minutes at a time playing the pen-capping mini game in Work Time Fun to earn enough money for a gacha toy just so I could see its sprite icon fill a space in the item list. I like weird EXP systems that increment based on movement or other basic actions. I have a compulsion to fill huge checklists giving minor in-game rewards and that is a good chunk of what motivates me to play the Yakuza games and post-Kirby Air Ride HAL games (really just Brawl, SSB4, Meteos).

My favorite Metal Gears are Peace Walker and Phantom Pain because I liked being able to incrementally grow from a few guys on an oil rig using taped-together tranq pistols to a nuclear-armed Blackwater with fulton balloon launchers even though the high-end stuff trivialized the games.




Dressing up my character, especially if I am able to show off my fashion choices in some sort of co-op environment.


The anti-double jump sentiment on IC was mega wack.


Don’t get it twisted; the double jump is generally a crutch of platformer design. I just respect that everyone has their thing. I’m not here to kink shame.


“I came here to kink shame and chew gum. But honestly I have so much gum that I probably won’t get to the kink shaming.”

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This is kind of broad, but the reason I like masocore platformers is that I really like banging my head against a stiff but finite challenge until it just becomes rote action. Then what I really like is performing those actions over and over at, like, a zen brainstem level of mind(full/less)ness.

This is why Mario vs. Airman is so perfect for me, and also what I love about MM9 (peashooter running).

I also like the clever level design of something like I Wanna Be the Guy, but the zen is what keeps me coming back.

This is also much of the appeal of cubing. I guess I’m just chasing flow, but I also like the familiarity aspect.

I’m not attracted to speed running though, I guess because I prefer skill gates that are solidly required by the game itself.

Moments of peace during chaos, encouraging safe exploration of historic ruins

Inns with sweet sleep music

Powerful attacks requiring incredibly specific conditions


Open World Territory Capture with Headquarters - Examples: GTA San Andreas, Assassins Creed: Brotherhood, Mafia 3. Games that let you work to capture territory or businesses and it adds perks and bonuses based on your choices. In Mafia 3, I love the particular busy work of going through a neighbourhood and bugging it to see where things to disrupt is. I then love to pick apart the operations of the mafia rivals that culminates in storming a stronghold and then afterwards, a big story mission. It’s video game junk food but I just love it.


I don’t know that I have any gameplay fetishes… It’s more in the audio-visual feedback for me. I like crisp, satisfying reactions to shots or hits, like in Diablo, Path of Exile, Doom, etc. First person shooting as a gameplay mechanic is probably never going to get old for me. I’ll play those games until my old, decrepit body turns to dust. I’m hooked on that. Maybe that’s it. Good old ray casting

Oh and something like X-Com, where you play on two different layers and they both influence each other. I love global games. That’s such a power rush

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I’m pretty big on the dress up, that’s a thing we need more focus on in our video worlds

what else do I like

I like a good skill tree. I don’t even play path of exile but I’d probably like path of exile. I just don’t have the patience for the inventory management thing. that’s a thing I don’t like. inventory management

I like it when a game has some kind of vehicle that you can afk on and it’ll take you places. like in a circle. like it’ll just keep going. not many games just let you keep going

I like it when an area has different music tracks that change based on something. like in a rpg when you’re in a place and there’s a kind of generic track that plays, but then something sad happens there as part of the plot and after that every time you go back to that place some sad music is playing. or games where if you start fighting some shit music will get more angry or whatever

jumping off of really tall shit and killing myself. when I did this shit in some assassins creed game and it wasn’t even fun I gave the controller back to my friend and never thought about assassins creed ever again. probably I didn’t even die. you probably don’t die in assassins creed right. in the old tomb raider games you could do a swan dive off of anything. you had to press like 12 buttons to do it, tomb raider controls were fucked up. you’d die all the damn time if you did this

playing musical instruments in games that aren’t about playing musical instruments. exception: ocarina of time. fuck zelda, man. I need to play steambot chronicles, I played it for like two hours once at my friend’s house and you play a harmonica and that was all I needed to know, in addition to everything else being awesome. why don’t I have this game fifteen years later

holding a button to charge something up. so many shitty games were at least playable because you could charge up your laser or your sword attack. probably 90% of arcade games ever made have this feature so maybe it shouldn’t count, I dunno, I guess I’m not very picky about some things. video games.

dashing. it’s just double jumping on the ground, same shit, usually just as lazy or pointless. don’t care, I fucking love dashing. what fighting game added dashing? now every fighting game has dashing. is anyone mad about that? super turbo is a better fighting game than any fighting game with a dash and I don’t even care because dashing is still cool. every player in every moba is always like WHY DOES EVERY CHARACTER HAVE A DASH NOW that shit has RUINED THE GAME but secretly they all exclusively play characters with dashes because fuck not dashing. in castlevania symphony of the night you spend the entire game facing backwards mashing your backdash button because it’s faster to chain dash than it is to walk and that is why symphony of the night is great


High level technical abilities with a limited moveset in singleplayer games, like hovering infinitely with perfect timing like in Mischief Makers or Yoshi’s Island, or dash cancelling in SotN


Walls, any sort of wall based movement especially running along them. It’s the best.
Gears of War proved that even just sliding alongside them is delightful.

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In fightmans:

A sane number of meters to manage

Systems that prevent excess juggling

Systems that prevent abuse of links (I hate links)

Cool defence systems beyond blocking

Whiff anims for throws

A very specific sense of “flow” in movement which I can’t really describe but can list examples:

Tribes, Spiderman 2, Waverace 64, Steep


Exponential growth, both physically and numerically. Katamari Damacy is the only game that really does this physically, but Disgaea and other NIS games essentially have exponential growth numerically. Like, you don’t level up exponentially, but leveling up one character means it’s exponentially easier to level up other characters. Getting someone to level 100 for the first time takes 20 hours, but once you get one person up there it takes like 20 minutes, and once you’ve got characters at level 1000, level 100 is completely forgotten. You just gloss over it. It may as well not exist.

Related to the above, anything that consistently shows you different scales. Taking off from a planet in No Man’s Sky, leaving the geographical features behind you, then the planet, then the star, then the entire neighborhood of stars. But you always have to do it in reverse too: go to a star system, target a planet, fly there from thousands of miles away, enter the atmosphere, land on the ground, find a very specific rock to break and carry back to your ship.

Vast geographical features that you can physically experience. Wandering through a desert in Minecraft and suddenly encountering a mountain with a lava waterfall. I could dive into that lava if I wanted, or climb the mountain, or find the cave that has the source of lava. Breath of the Wild does this immaculately as well.

I’m here for scale y’all. Gimme that sweet sublimity.