In Gamasutra's latest feature
, retro-gaming enthusiast journalist Ray Barnholt cracks open five unusual games from the NES era to see if their ideas can be salvaged by today's developers.
Writes Barnholt, "There's no denying that, in a creative medium like game development, execution has humongous importance. Unfortunately, a lot can get in the way... In short, concepts are misused."
"The best indie games show that great ideas do have power when aptly applied. And many of the best are inspired by game ideas from the golden age, where simplicity was a necessity," he continues.
However, many games, understandably, build their foundation on the hits. What if developers were to look at near-misses? Barnholt explores five games that had interesting ideas but spotty execution to see what might be salvageable.
One such title is the Japanese-developed Pitfall!
sequel, Super Pitfall
"By no means is Super Pitfall
good," Barnholt writes. Even so, "By looking at it a little deeper, one can grasp a certain way of designing exploration-heavy games like Super Pitfall
"Without a manual, map, or strategy guide, Super Pitfall
becomes a pure trial-and-error expedition of the underground, with a certain (yet low) degree of discovery and magic moments (again, a low degree). With that in mind, one could make a game that jets ahead of Super Pitfall
and gets as close to a 'sandbox' as possible, with a loose goal that couples true exploration with graphics and physics that are actually good."
To find out what other insights Barnholt uncovers, read today's feature: Gems In The Rough: Yesterday's Concepts Mined For Today
, live now on Gamasutra.