An Organic Headcrab Brainteaser
Organic carrots, organic asparagus and organic facecloths.
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The term: “organic gameplay” is one that I’ve been pondering over lately and it just so happens that I’ve been playing a game recently that sparks that exact feeling. So you may blame the game or my mind for comparing them with each other, or the mind of the game for planting hypnotic thoughts of organic copulation with a treacherous rodent family, resulting in a cross-breed of headcrabs. (Damn, where did I place my much needed medicine?)
I swear that statement opened up a cluster of portals with unwanted thoughts just streaming through.
Anyway, organic gameplay is the name of today’s topic.
I’ve recently acquired The Orange Box and started playing Half-Life 2. Yes, I do know that I’m relatively late for the discussion, but despite it being an eight / nine year old game, I’m surprised by my enjoyment with it. You see, I didn’t finish Half-Life 2 on PC. This was due to reasons I may not talk about and it has nothing to do with the corpse in my closet.
Something that I started realising again whilst playing, was when I died and replayed the specific shooting segment that caused my downfall is that I could do almost anything the exact same way, but the enemies and way they met their doom varied each time.
How is this possible?
I personally feel that the different AI’s have so many options about how to approach the situation and cap Gordon’s ass, resulting in so many different outcomes. Another aspect that may help in terms of the “organic-ness” is the level-design. You can approach the same combat situation with different routes and different sources of shelter. Why not throw a Combine soldier with a barrel or a toilet?
The number of weapons also provide a wide variety of options. If you have the needed ammunition and prefer to chill and hang back, you may pick of enemies with the extremely lethal crossbow. If an enemy is coming around a corner and you were busy cracking open crates with your crowbar, you may depart him from this world using the aforementioned crowbar. You will take damage, yes, but the current weapon won’t feel useless.
Honestly, not many games feel like this anymore. Half-Life does have a degree of scripted events and I’m not denying that, but it just feel as though not recent many games provide us with these options. You have pre-selected weapons and you have certain amount of blokes to eviscerate and done.
I can think of just a few games that provide with more than the average, in terms options with which to approach a situation. Which games do you feel have that “organic” nature?