Here are some noteworthy ideas for video games that I’ve either come up with or collected from others. First, some of my own ideas:
You Are the Blacksmith –You know, that guy with the big belly and equally big beard in fantasy action-RPGs that either crafts or enhances your weapons. Essentially, it’s a game of managing a store: filling orders, purchasing the necessary materials, and striving to do a good enough job that you’ll keep getting more customers as the game moves forward. The main things setting this world apart from the boring real one is that your customers are warriors, wizards, goblins, and the like while the raw and finished materials are enchanted skulls, suped-up scythes, health potions, and such.
According to each customer’s situation, you’ve got to make them things that will help them accomplish their goals, for instance, if an adventurer needs something to take care of a cadre of ogres with a vulnerability to fungus, then you might want to craft something for him using a mushroom in your materials inventory. You can use the money to order more crafting materials and sometimes, if your customer had a successful mission, you might get paid with something from the mission out of gratitude. In many cases, you will need to fill certain orders before you can fill others, just as in most video games where you need to obtain certain items first in order to move forward to successive levels.
To make things more interesting, you would also need to make decisions about who you choose to do business with, as some customers might skimp you on payments or perhaps you might even be helping to pit one customer against another by supplying both opposing sides with weapons and you very well may choose to pick one side over the other. Invasion events might also happen, where suddenly and out of necessity your shop is turned into a weapons factory in time of war and you need to oversee the production of a successful arms production to defend your land against the invasion. Other factors you would need to juggle with include the quality of the items you purchase, their prices, their availability (they might be seasonal or rarely pop up for sale once in a while), and also how fast you want to get them (do you want to pay more for express shipping?). You might also need to deal with human resource decisions like hiring and paying workers once your production levels have expanded enough.
But for those who are itching for more action, you would also want to keep weapons for your own use to defend against some nefarious competitor who occasionally decides to attack your shop…or perhaps against irate customers who want their money back and you don’t have enough to refund them with!
You Are Bowser – Another role-reversal idea that I’m surprised no one has done yet (or done the way I see it). Essentially, this is like a level editor, but in a much more guided, goal-oriented, and limited set-up. You would be someone akin to Bowser and your goal would be stopping the Mario-like protagonist from progressing further in a platform-style game, only you’re not doing any of the jumping or maneuvering. Your role would be mainly tactical, as you would be placing the enemies, traps, and pitfalls for the hero to traverse either successfully or unsuccessfully, depending on how well you were able to place the enemies and traps (or in some cases, you would be able to activate the enemy or trap to attack when you choose).
Each level would be ready-made to a large extent and you would be limited as to which enemies and devices are at your disposal. As the levels progress, you get more enemies and devices to choose from (but of course, the hero gets trickier to stop). If you’re wondering about how the story is moving forward if the hero is continually stopped, maybe each level has a different protagonist from the same army of good guys (and thus different abilities/strengths) who are attacking on different fronts.
Now, the BIG factor that this game would hinge on (and is probably why I haven’t seen a game quite like this yet) is the ability to get things in the goldilocks zone – to give you enough freedom to make tactical decisions in level design, but not enough freedom that it becomes too easy. I would imagine it could be very difficult to achieve that exact balance of freedom and difficulty, but I would guess that the same developers at Nintendo behind the ingenuity of the Mario platformers would be able to pull it off.
Super Smash Bros. as a Multi-Genre Adventure Game – This one is franchise-specific (or rather, multi-franchise specific) and would take some of the more popular characters of Super Smash Bros. and arrange them within a single game true to their own varying genres. So basically, one section would be the essence of a Metroid game, another would be a Zelda game, another a Star Fox flying-shooter section, and so on.
I think it would be even more intriguing to do what was done with the Spyro Orange and Crash Bandicoot Purple games, where the characters switched game styles – so we could have Mega Man racing in Mute City (but still picking up power ups like metal blade to use against competitors), Mario swinging around the Master Sword and jumping on stalfos, Donkey Kong and his primate pals fighting K. Rool and his Kremlins while flying around in arwings and collecting space bananas (lol), Kirby going up against the likes of Soda Popinski or Bald Ball while sucking in power-ups resulting from some of the punches, or Yoshi surviving the hostile regions of Brinstar and Norfair with missile-powered eggs.
In a way, Nintendo has already achieved some of this not only in the SSB games in regards to the characters, but in Nintendo Land for the Wii U in regards to bringing together the different genres (but without the characters or story). This is surely an idea that every Nintendo fan and his kid brother has had at some point, so that fact alone speaks for the potential unlikeliness of this sort of thing coming together. It’s highly ambitious, requires lots of separate development and licensing teams coming together on the same page, and could turn into a too many cooks spoil the broth times 10…but it would surely outsell any downfalls of the game itself, so it would be worth a try.
Destroying the Death Star…Gradually – Ok, this idea probably reflects one of my own quirks more than an actual demand for a game like this, but I couldn’t resist listing it here. For some reason, I think I would find it very satisfying to, very slowly or meticulously, destroy some grand construction as the mission of a game. The massiveness of a space station (like the Death Star) should take center stage (as you would get a better sense of being the underdog) and should somehow guide you into gradual destruction of the station both within and without. You should also be able to get a very good sense of your destructive accomplishments (through a readily-accessible and detailed map of the space station that changes as you do your damage.)
To give your actions impetus, maybe you’re attempting to at least delay the space station from attacking different worlds and you’ve got to work against that timer. Perhaps your intentions don’t start out as ambitious as all that when you begin the game, but rather develop into it as you survive longer.
Procedurally Generated Infinite Mansion – Imagine No Man’s Sky, but indoors with a basically infinite number of different rooms. Just as every planet is different in No Man’s Sky, every room would vary in contents, style, size, etc. and would all be connected to one another as rooms would be in a convoluted and varying mansion. A goal of the game might involve finding and gathering certain objects (from a list that changes with each try) while evading hostile forces and booby traps in some of the rooms. The set of different room types would be in the thousands, ranging from surgery wards to boiler rooms to luxurious bedrooms to fallout shelters and so on. Many rooms would be connected through (and the goals hidden by) secret passage ways and puzzle-like interactions with the environment. Also like No Man’s Sky, the game would be an MMO but on such a scale as to rarely come across other players (but maybe not so rare as NMS has it), however you would have the choice of playing side-by-side in the same place with any given friend.
Choose Your Own Life – This would basically be a Choose Your Own Adventure-type game (with maybe some point-and-click action) that would potentially span someone’s entire life from the earliest moments of cognitive decision making to death from old age. This would be one of those that would be more of an experience than a “game”, as you’re more or less observing how your life changes after each decision that’s made. It would be imperative that you would have access to the tree-branch map of all of your decisions, so that you can go back to any of those decision points at any time and see where the other decisions lead. The style would be very realistic (e.g. Heavy Rain) with decisions ranging from, “Which route should I take to the post office today?” to “Should I study to become an engineer or join a gang?” The strength of this game, of course, would be more in its literary writing than its gameplay development.
Escape The Shelf – This would be a more simplistic game designed for mobile devices or tablets. This would basically be a screen with a series of shelves. On these shelves are different and varied objects. Each object can be tapped in order to bring it to life and from there it attempts to escape from the shelf, however, for every one object there is another object on the shelf that stops it from leavings (e.g. if you try to get the nail to leave before you get the hammer to leave, the hammer stops it). So your job is to figure out which order the objects should leave in before a timer runs out. The fun in this instance would be in the deductions as to which objects would logically be impediments or not to the others.
Real World Replica Battlefront – Ok, this one is more pie-in-the-sky than the others, but I think we’re getting there. Ever since we started having such detailed and complete pictures of the real world as Google Maps, I can tell people have been craving something as much to come to videogames. Imagine having access to a complete scan of your own town or city in a VR immersion environment like Oculus Rift – and I don’t mean the detailed but still artificially constructed world of GTA games, I mean your ACTUAL town, complete with the insides of buildings in houses. Of course, for obvious reasons of privacy, we’re probably never going to have it at that level (although I can imagine game makers advertising publicly in a town that they would like access to scanning inside of homes and buildings and paying with free copies/access to the game when it comes out) but we might at least have a complete virtual reality scan of the outside environment. My own spin on this would be to make a Star Wars Battlefront style game out of the environment, with different buildings/houses or groups of buildings being able to be captured by different teams or opposing armies. Imagine you and your friends having your way with (not just any city) but YOUR particular city, tossing grenades from one aisle to another at the grocery, making a mess of your workplace, defending your own home being captured, and so on.
Here are some ideas I’ve come across on the web:
MacGyver – This one I saw on a Cracked.com article. This is self-explanatory (and I’ve never even watched a single episode of the show), but for those who don’t know what MacGyver is, he’s the ultimate resourceful character who can fashion whatever is needed with whatever is at hand (e.g. making a plane out of a cement mixer and an industrial fan or a defibrillator out of candlesticks and a microphone cord). So, you get the idea.
Protest – Here’s an idea (that I’ve added a little to) from a Twitter account that posts crazy game ideas. This would be game where you can join protests in order to affect changes in the game world’s rules. So we start out with a high level of restrictions within an open world similar to GTA (so high potentials of freedom to do things). There are consequences if the protest you choose to be part of fails or turns into a riot.
Making Someone Late for Work – I found a few ideas from a subreddit on the subject. Here’s another game that might be more at home on mobile devices because of its relative simplicity: http://www.reddit.com/r/gameideas/comments/2tg1o0/a_game_where_you_have_to_make_someone_late_for/
Earth vs. Humans – This is what the Reddit post says: “It could be like a sim/god game where you control wind/ocean currents, asteroids hitting, volcanoes, tectonic plate movements, floods, avalanches, etc. to try to wipe out the human race as it slowly survives each attack and improves in technology/survivability with each wave.”
Butterfly Effect – Another one from a Reddit post. This would be an ambitious, but still possible concept due to the levels of procedural generation we have now (again, like No Man’s Sky or Minecraft). The possibilities here are literally endless, but it would be nice to couple this idea with time travel, so you get to see procedurally generated effects on the future world. Of course, it really matter WHAT is being procedurally generated; it it’s just a matter of the grass changing from green to blue, that’s not really worth our while. What would be interesting if there were a very large number of things that could change like your role in the game (whether you’re the king, a beggar, a judge, a clown, etc.), what technologies are available in the world (steam-powered computers, laser guns, rocks and clubs, etc.), what environmental features are present (whether lakes or mountains have developed, whether cities have grown or disappeared), what animal life has evolved to be, and so on. As far as gameplay, perhaps it could be mission based (like GTA), but the missions have a very flexible structure and could fit into each world iteration, no matter how different it is.
If you have any game ideas of your own, I encourage you to share them on that particular subreddit for the topic.