Monday, April 5, 2010

Been there, Done that? Part II

What can you do with a BA in Arts? (Or English for those who are being a smart arse) What can you do with common household items? Do mullets give you super powers? This questions could be answered but why would you, when there is MacGyver?

That's right, I'm going to try to thunk out a MacGyver game in this entry.

MacGyver Online

For those not in the know (or simply too "cool" to have ever watched it), MacGyver was a TV show about a secret agent, who preaches non-violence and carries a Swiss Army knife instead of a gun. Apparently having a science degree and the ability to turn junk into inventions will save the world.

A MacGyverism is a word used to describe the "ingenious" use of items by MacGyver to solve problems. Like blow open doors or escape off mountains. A MacGyverism will have some basis in scientific principles but have been adjusted for entertainment (anti-terrorist) purposes.

In the 1st episode, MacGyver uses 12 MacGyverisms to save the day:

- Disarmed missile with a paper clip
- Matches, string & rifle made timed diversion
- Smashed flare-launcher barrel used as rocket thruster
- Lit cigarette with hidden laser
- Used Cigarette smoke to see laser
- Mirror from binoculars reflected laser to 'sting' itself
- Raised fallen I-beam with knotted fire hose filled with water
- Tested heat on door with a stick (it caught fire)
- Pulled wires out of control panel and joined together to start fans in gas chamber.
- Milk chocolate bars stopped sulfuric acid leak
- Sodium metal & cold capsule made explosive
- Signaled status by blinking light system in Morse code

Let's pretend that Mac-daddy doesn't have any copyright and licensing issues that would prevent us from making a game. What kind of games can we make out of this TV show? Why would we even make games out of something so implausible?

MacGyver's main gimmick is, a secret agent that can unleash world-saving powers but these powers work best when he's got to improvise. That's right, this show is all about implausible stuff but making it look cool and exciting. Nothing says cool than turning a casket into a jet ski.

The show can be a video game, the main question is what kind of game would you make?
[These are questions, I'm sure there are games that do all this kind of stuff with no problems but I'm going off the top of my head here]

  • Action/Adventure is a pretty easy choice, the player can control MacGyver on missions but how would you factor in the improv item creation? Can you make an inventory that works to combine items without in the way of the action?
    - 2D platformer where Mac fights enemies and collects required items along the way (Boring)
    - 3D platformer like Uncharted
    - Point&Click Adventure offers a way of inventory but you're going to have more fun dodging the enemy and karating chopping them into unconsciousness. (can't remember if Mac has karate skills)

  • Puzzlers, do MacGyver puzzles involve combining items or do you collect items? Or solving actual puzzles?
    - Would a mini-game like Bioshock's hacking system work in MacGyver-land?
    - How about collection of mini-games? Anyone up to see how fast you can solve a problem? eg. How fast can you collect helpful items or how fast can you rig up that cement mixer?
    - It's tempting to see how fast can MacGyver escape like Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore (It's a Simpsons gag)
    - Or even Mythbuster style

  • FPS... Mac's got a no-gun policy but maybe you can go FP on gadgets?
    - Maybe Mac can swap tools to get past guards and save some hostages
    - Of course you could always TPS if you prefer looking at Mac from afar
    - Maybe Mac inspired Die Hard clone or Arkham Asylum?

  • Things you shouldn't even think about:
    - A sidekick (It's a safety precaution against fans)
    - Rythm game
    - Sports.. ?

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