Game Idea

by Darius Kazemi on January 23, 2008

in design,games

So here’s a game idea that just occurred to me: you’re the cameraman who follows Mario around. The core gameplay would be to frame the hero properly so that the player playing him doesn’t screw up.

This seems like a pretty obvious idea–has anyone done this before?


david.mcgraw January 23, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Put Mario on anything and you’ve made yourself millions. Well, until the Mario-Mafia comes after you…

But, yeah, I could use something like this while watching my fiancee play Mario. Oye… Painful…

Patrick January 23, 2008 at 10:46 pm

How would you run the PC-once-removed? I bet the easiest way would be to compile performances based on standard deviations, and cause those deviations to exacerbate when the cameraman fails to perform adequetely. It’d be a game built on metrics.

Andy January 23, 2008 at 11:53 pm

Wow, obviously you’ve never been a cameraman ;) If you’re filming constantly (which is doubtful, hehe) and *running* after someone, it barely gets anything but the pavement in shot ;)

But, for a game? Not many camera’s involved – oddly. The best examples might be Beyond Good and Evil’s camera use, or Pokemon Cameraman (or whatever it was called).

But by far the best example of videocameras is something I just remembered – but cannot remember the name of (some article I saw on it, Japanese only release) was that you were the cameraman, and had a reporter who took you around filming the devastation of a monster attack on a city (like, generic horror then). You got points for filming things (with limited tapes) including, of course, monsters – but also, deaths, certain “reports”, and *cough* underwear shots *cough* too. I think you could even get your crew killed (and replaced?) at various instances. Most of the “choices” involved saving or not saving survivors from monsters.

If anyone remembers what it is, I’d love to know myself – the original article was a good read, and while not perfect, would be workable (things like the camera has batteries, tape, and looked like a camera when viewed through it).

However, the concept applied to a platform/action game might not work too well – camerawork needs steady hands – anything more then a slow walk makes it jerky so it’d be interesting getting around that problem, if it was took seriously as a camera. That, and if you’re keeping up with frikkin’ heroes, you must be ultra fast and have similar jumping skills/powers to get through “levels”. Maybe if you were, say, Luigi making a video of Mario (or similar for other Heroes), then it’d work better.

Or maybe not even Mario – maybe something else – a Link documentary perhaps? A news reporter cameraman in a disaster? (like the monster thing above) A reporter in a modern-day superhero RPG setting following a hero?

I’d personally love a mockumentary-like comedy following a “hero” around – man, if that’s not mod material for something like Half Life, I don’t know what is…you’d need some decent voicework and writing, but it could follow the whole problem of constantly dying, cliched dialogue and story, and perhaps even “behind the scenes” where “cast members” complain about the QOL or stuff others do, or that they hate or love each other really, etc.

And a twist on it might be to follow the *badguy*. Be his drone/a captured guy if you want to remove the problem of “not stopping him”, and then perhaps see what actually happens while the PC is doing things (inevitably slowly) to take down the badguy :)

Problem is it getting repetitive – perhaps allowing players to change the direction of the action via. conversation or command, but at least allowing more points for certain angles and shots, would be good.

What have I missed? Hmm, perhaps the game could auto-record (ala Halo) the footage you record. This would likely mean “no wii version” but for a camera game, you’ve really got to have a way to watch stuff back!

I’d play these ideas – I’m not too hot on following a fast-paced action game (at least one with so much jumping as in Mario) but other formats would be suited better to it for sure – but then again, action could work – and would keep the writing simple if all you had to do was film some action!


Andy January 23, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Oh, and I realise that your original idea was just the “3rd person camera” with no real “cameraman” but I took that to mean you *could* have a 1st person cameraman :)

Much more interesting then being what is essentially an “automated system” (or at least, trying to mimic one!)

Bradley Momberger January 24, 2008 at 12:28 am

Seems like a much more purposeful evolution of Pokemon Snap. I’m a little confused by your treatment, though. Is the “player controlling Mario” an actual player, or a computer construction that provides feedback on how you’re doing?

Daniel Benmergui January 24, 2008 at 12:43 am

I like this idea…it should be a really simple stupid game. And you can do away with Mario. And I’m thinking in 2D, as always.

But you could have stuff like

“Introduce the cast, each doing something cool”

“Goriest moment of death”

It would be even cooler if the pictures affect the gameplay…like using the pictures to affect the level (ie: take picture of empty platform, wait until enemy jumps onto it, cover with picture).

I will think about this…


supergg2k January 24, 2008 at 5:33 pm

That doesn’t sound like fun.

It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t see a game coming out of it.

Would you want to play Madden if you had to be the waterboy?

nightrise January 24, 2008 at 6:05 pm

As long as you’re playing as Lakitu and could every once in a while throw out Spiny Eggs, seems like a recipe for success.

David January 24, 2008 at 8:42 pm

I’m pretty sure this was a joke. I had to chuckle on my soda pop a little from reading some of these replies. >;)

Ian Schreiber January 25, 2008 at 6:22 pm

I don’t think the idea is quite like Pokemon Snap. PS was basically an on-rails shooter, after being put through the Nintendo Content Censors ™ :)

What you describe sounds more like the obscure PS2 title, Robot Alchemic Drive. It’s a game where giant robots are fighting each other, lots of collateral damage to skyscrapers and the like, yadda yadda. The twist is that you’re playing the human who is controlling the robot remotely, and the camera follows the human. If you’re too far away from the robot, you’ll have a hard time controlling it; if you’re too close, you run the risk of being in a building that gets blown up and dying.

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