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Feature: 'Game Design Essentials: 20 Open World Games'

The second in Gamasutra's 'Game Design Essentials' series looks at the roots and design lessons of 'open world games' - titles in which the player "is left to his own devices to explore a large world" - from Adventure through Metroid to G
[The second in Gamasutra's 'Game Design Essentials' series, following '20 Difficult Games', looks at the roots and design lessons of 'open world games' - titles in which the player "is left to his own devices to explore a large world" - from Adventure through Metroid to Grand Theft Auto.] Further defining elements of 'open world games,' writer and designer John Harris clarifies, explaining the gameplay experience in the titles that comprise his list. "At the core of the open world game is consumption. Once a place is seen for the first time, it cannot be unseen and seen again. To an extent, the game is a maze, and once the whole thing is seen the game cannot be played the same way again. Perhaps it can be played for a good score or a good time, but that's a substantially different kind of experience." In this feature, Harris compiles information and notables on a full 20 of these open world titles; beginning with Adventure on the Atari 2600, Harris recalls one of its secrets: "Everyone knows, by now, about the famous easter egg. In case you don't: on higher game variations, there is a one-pixel-size dot in a locked-off room that's the same color as the background. Use the bridge to get into that room in order to pick up the dot, then take it to the room that has a black line on its right-hand edge and drop it. Bring enough other objects to that room and the line will flicker. At that time, you can move through the wall by pressing against it to see a graphic of Warren Robinett's name. Consider what percentage of the game's ROM is taken up by that graphic!" You can now read the full, in-depth top 20, from Landstalker and Pitfall II all the way through the Grand Theft Auto series to Dragon Slayer IV (no reg. required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites.)

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