Game Pitch: Murphy’s Law Realism mode


For those who’ve consumed last week’s show, you’ll have already heard the very basic idea behind this particular Game Pitch. Those of you who haven’t, for shame! Go listen to it now, dammit. If you’re keen to just read about this particular Game Pitch, though, you’re going to have to make the jump. Come on, by now you know I’m not going to give it away in the opening paragraph.

Old mate is about to win the race, but then... heart attack!

Murphy’s Law Realism mode is an idea I’ve had for years now, I just haven’t given it a name. On the show, I referred to it as ‘Bullshit Realism mode’, which has been the running title for quite some time, but ‘Murphy’s Law Realism mode’ has that intriguing and, not to mention, family friendly feel to it. The kind of thing a publisher could put on the back of a game box or add to a laundry list of features that make the game far more intriguing than the stock standard tripe that tends to infest such lists.

The mode in question was originally envisioned as a mod, or even possibly as an entire game; but that would be to misunderstand the core of this particular mode, which is made of nougatty novelty. Technically, Murphy’s Law Realism mode could slot into any style of game, and would be best served in multiplayer, because it’s designed to mess with people: particularly those who take winning a wee bit too seriously (yes, those people include me… far be it from me to mess with myself).

With this mode active, anything could happen in a stranger than fiction kind of way. It was originally called ‘Bullshit Realism mode’ because it’s grounded in realism, albeit definitely towards the farfetched side of things, whereby any random event could occur to hinder or even flat out stop the winning team.

Take a sports title for example, FIFA perhaps. One team has been on the defensive all game, but somehow the scores are level. The game is in the dying moments and the clearly better team is in position to smash the ball into the back of the net. But the unthinkable occurs. A particularly nasty bout of food poisoning washes over the entire attacking team; that’ll learn ‘em for taking Dodgy Andy’s advice on where the team should eat their pre-victory dinner. While the team writhes on the ground in agony, the defensive team walks the ball to the other end of the field and nudges it into the net.

It could even take a nastier form. Achievement junkies might want to close their eyes for this one. Campy McSniper has pitched his tent in the kind of sniper nest that Vercelli Zaitsev would build in his Soviet mansion. As a slave to achievements, he’s well aware that he’s only one headshot away from the coveted ‘Cerebral Bore’ trophy that will net him some sweet gaming cred. He lines up the easiest headshot of his digital sniping career but, before he can fire, is caught up in a sneezing fit.

The perfect sniper nest, it seems, is in dire need of a clean, and McSniper’s allergies have kicked up at the most inopportune time. Never fear, though, the mode also offers an ever-changing string of onscreen quick-time events that McSniper must press in order to steady his aim during the sporadic sneezing fit. Alas, in his frustrations, he taps Shift a few too many times and activates StickyKeys, crashing his game. No achievement for you today.

This game mode is limited only by the possibilities of a developer’s twisted imagination. Heart attacks from continued sprinting, freakish tornadoes because of poor venue choice or a meteorite shower due to the fact a player liked a few too many Michael Bay movies on Facebook (yup, it has a social networking aspect, too). At least I’ve stopped talking about zombies againagain, right?

Those are my examples of Murphy’s Law Realism mode at play. What are yours?

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  • Dean Longmore

    I’d give players trailing behind a speed boost, and a blue shell that automatically targets the leading player.

  • kozeeii

    I think that’s been done before in Mario Noire

  • DoGM3At

    I’d like to see anxiety attacks in racing games where players that try and play for ten hours straight run the risk of drivers loosing their shit and panicking on corners.

    Oh, and fighting games where players can KO themselves from button mashing. The effect could come in the form of an awkward and embarrassing ankle sprain or groin pull.