Gameplay Fetishes


I really like both physics games and turn-based strategy games, which arguably are related in that they both require a high degree of internal consistency and simulation modeling in order to be very good. this is obviously a requirement of games that have good symmetrical multiplayer but I tend to lean into it more in single-player stuff.

I wouldn’t call it a particular interest on its own, but I’m extremely picky about UI aesthetics and even menu sound design (much moreso than the actual interface UX); it’ll keep me playing a game I might’ve put down sooner, make me give up on one I otherwise sort of like, and nudge already great games to classic status for me.

I have a major weakness for Macross-style music climaxes and I can’t understand why more people don’t use them liberally in their pulp storytelling.

Oh, and I like it when games actively antagonize you as much as possible, as long as they respect your time.


Heck yeah to this, one of many things about the first Dragon Age that’s more likable than the game really deserves is all the obscure spell combos that create incredibly powerful new attacks which are almost never practical (you can combine the strongest ice spell with the strongest thunder spell to make a storm that will basically kill everyone in your party who doesn’t have extremely high magic resistance)


Seconding flow, and adding racing games to it - almost nothing’s as good as having a neverending flow of corners that you traverse faster, faster, faster, faster,…
obv, i love wipeout just for that bit if it wasn’t for some janky corners that just won’t allow fluid traversal…

Inertia when moving.
i love it when most of the time, you can’t turn corners like a cardboard cutout, but rather like a “real” mecha would, where you have to consider inertia. I end up jumping (and boosting) around aimlessly, just for the sake of getting the hang of it…


asymmetrical co-op


did SF4 kill your family


it killed mine


Thinking about it some more I’m coming back to Wing Commander 3, the first game I owned myself for the PC. Although the gameplay fetish doesn’t really apply to that game but it’s what gave me the idea. And it harkens back to what Clint said about space exploration. The idea is sort of Privateer mixed with Star Wars Galaxies. I always wanted a game where I could design a lifestyle for myself. In space. With trade and piracy and just making things and selling them. Like geist said in one of the podcasts (from years ago) “I just want to make a Star Wars bed.” I want to be the guy who crafts a stupid bed and then hops in his space ship to deliver it to a distant planet, bustling with life. I just want to Live The Life, in a digital space.

Somehow this promise of the medium hasn’t been fulfilled for me. Like, I don’t even like Privateer and I couldn’t get into SW Galaxies when I tried it last year. Those aren’t the games I’m looking for.

I feel like crafting hasn’t been done well in videogames, ever. The closest to it is probably Car Mechanic Simulator 201x. It would have to be that level of detail for me to really be interested in it. I want to lovingly put in those nuts and bolts myself. I want to learn something by playing, until one day it just becomes routine and I can focus on upping the quality of what I’m making. But not with some stupid minigame that doesn’t mean anything. It would have to be through the use of different tools and better raw materials.

I’d better stop before this turns into a “fantasize about your dream game” post


I have a special fondness for RPGs and RPG-adjacent games with a small scope and a very finite number of NPCs who all have something to say, particularly when you get secondary forms of interaction. The gold standard for this would be Paper Mario, in which your first helper has something unique to say about pretty much every room in the game, as well as pretty much every NPC. So you walk into the room and he had something to say, then you can talk to the characters in it, and he’ll tell you something about each of those characters. (Unless I’m mixing my memories up.) Another good example of this I keep finding myself referring back to is Why Am I Dead At Sea.

The Mario example actually describes a reverse of the situation I was trying to describe, in which one character has many opinions which can be sampled on different subjects; the best similar example I know of is Undertale, in which you can call Papyrus for commentary on most of the rooms in the game, and after successfully sparing Undyne & having your dinner date, she will join him and now the two of them have something new to say in every room. Both of these are great.


Visible sprite changes from upgrades in 2d games.


In that Conan MMO, did certain servers end up having player kings? Like, did certain players develop castles and lay claim to resources and use their riches to employ other players? That seemed like the potential of what they created and that just seemed so damn cool. But I dunno if it actually happened.


Dragon Quest probably originated this and is often very good at it; in DQ5 one button press gets you a comment from every party member, including monsters (slimes don’t often have much to contribute besides ‘glub, glub’ but I don’t pressure them)


Rope/Tether Physics and interaction: You Grapple Hooks and Spider-Mans are things I love. I just find the idea of being connected to another object and being able to exert a force on it to be the most interesting thing. There’s also the appeal of looking at a point and going straight to it. There’s hardly a day that goes by I don’t fantasize of looking at a spot and going straight to it bypassing so many stairs or elevator rides.

Teleportation or Moving so fast you leave an image behind: It’s anime as heck but I love that kind of visual of leaving an afterimage but it also works as a great way to sell how fast you were by showing you where you were and then thinking about how the light that was reflecting off you stayed there.

Wall Jumps/Parkour/Wall running: Just let me be a ninja where every surface is a playground. This is the main reason Mario Sunshine is still my favorite 3D Mario.

Weapon/Attack Clashing: I just love that sudden break in your thought/reaction process and you start to scramble for your next course of action.


where is the hack of MOTW where I can take Terry’s jacket and hat on and off at will and have it effect stats


i like flashing numbers and the way announcers call out lap or course records in racing games

top tier record flashing hues/frequencies: Wave Race 64, Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64

pure candy, pure addiction


no i pulled them to safety before woe transpired


Wandering in the rain: Nothing says hangoutitude like wandering around in a foggy, rainy, damp landscape. I loved Morrowind for this and think any mods to improve draw distance make it worse. Why yes I’m from the Seattle area why do you ask

Obnoxious inventory/equipment management: It’s tedious and annoying, but on some level there’s a certain level of catharsis to juggling items around like it’s a (simple) puzzle. I’d play a game of just all that weird inventory shuffling of the early parts of Homestuck. Also why I like pot juggling in Shiren. Though what I’m really saying is: Bring Back Inventory Tetris

probably more later when excedrin kicks in


Everything ArOne said I’m seconding

Stage Destruction: Otogi for example is really good at this. Let me level everything if I want to.

Monsters as party members, especially captureable ones, and doubly especially if they’re fighting with people, and triple especially if they’re viable.

Playing as monsters ia also a huge thing, like Godzilla games

Playing as dinosaurs


Capturing Ships/Soldiers: This is sort of a Pokemon-like thing where no matter what you encounter in the game, if you like it, you can have it. I first saw this in Master of Orion II, which would let you board whatever ships you encountered - even the super-powerful endgame dimensional invaders - and take them over. Saw it later in Homeworld, where you could pull together this great rag-tag fleet of random pirate ships and alien vessels and whatnot. Some of them were functionally useless, like “fuel pods” and crappy single-missile pirate corvettes, but they looked cool and gave the fleet a great aesthetic.

First-Person Melee: Being able to first-person punch a dude in a face, or kick something so hard it explodes, or do a finishing move on a gablin, is extremely gratifying to me.


I wish we had five more Silent Hill 2’s, non-horror-themed; based on detective stories, lost pets, dead romances (oh wait)

god’s own truth

When I first ran through Morrowind it was on a Voodoo Banshee in my parent’s Gateway. Rain in Balmora brought was cause to run indoors because the game became an unplayable slideshow.

Sometimes I’d choose to stand out in it and look at the sky, listen to the raindrops. As long as I didn’t have anywhere to be, didn’t need to move, it was fine

I have vivid memories of trying that for the first time with a card with programmable shaders, playing in the water just to see the ripples


I played through the entire game with Goombella, objectively the weakest, shittiest character, because her shining personality and commentary was an absolutely indispensable part of the game experience.