Hi Dark,
Yeah, I've been doing a lot of thinking about that myself of late.
After my recent survey you and others have convinced me there is still
a large market in the audio games community for side-scroller based
games. That in turn made me think of things that have been done in
mainstream side-scrollers, but that haven't necessarily been tried in
audio. One of these is various alternative routes as you just
mentioned in your Mario example.
For example, off the top of my head in the first level of Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles you have a couple of routes you can take to get
to the damn where April O'neal is being held captive. You can climb up
out of the sewers and travel above ground in the city to get to the
enemy's hideout, or you can stay below groundin the sewers and make
your way to the hideout. Either way it gets you where you want to go,
but  offers an alternative route and different challenges you can
choose. As you pointed out most accessible audio games don't offer
this degree of flexability of movement.
Something else that makes TMNT unique as a side-scroller is it is the
first side-scroller to offer something like a party system of game
play. Instead of having one character to play you were actually
controlling all four of the Ninja Turtles, and could switch between
them as needed. Since each of the turtles had special weapons and
attacks it gave the game a very RPG type feel to it since if you
wanted a sword you'd select Leo, and if you wanted a staff you would
select Don to start out with. When one of the turtls was killed the
game would select the next turtle in line. Although, you could usually
switch between all four of them during the game. We haven't anything
like this at all in the audio games community until Entombed came
along and offered a party system. However, we saw the evolution of
this in mainstream side-scrollers over 20 years ago.
I guess what I'm saying is a few members on this list have said in the
past they felt side-scrollers were boring, too simplistic, and found
them very uninteristing. I largely suspect such opinions were based on
early side-scrollers such as Super Liam and Tarzan Junior that haven't
remotely reached their greater potential as side-scrollers. There is
so much that can be done such as random items, random enemies,
alternative routes to complete, a party system, various traps,
alternative levels based on actions taken in the game, etc. There is a
huge list of things that could be done to make audio side-scrollers
more enjoyable and more like the mainstream side-scrollers out there.
What's more after I took my survey I discovered that many blind/low
vision gamers tend to want an easy system of navigation such as
left/right and up/down like Mysteries of the Ancients rather than a
more complex FPS style of navigation. Many told me that games like
Shades of Doom is too confusing to play, they get lost, and for that
reason they don't like the game that well. They specifically wanted to
see more side-scrollers like MOTA that have FPS type elements, extra
features, but not necessarily the FPS style of game play. That's
certainly something to consider. Especially, since the side-scroller
format's full potential hasn't even been tapped yet.

Cheers!


On 3/17/10, dark <d...@xgam.org> wrote:
> Agreed Tom.
>
> Dynaman and packman talks are actually in the odd catagory of being classic
> arcade games with a first person view. A couple of crasier retro games
> designers and more bizarre mainstream games have done this (there was a ps2
> game of 3D space invaders), but generally it doesn't happen as much, sinse
> from a sited point of view either a direct 2D side view or the top down
> perspective has generally been used for classic games like packman or
> boulderdash.
>
> While I certainly see your point about 3D games such as shades and Sarah, I
> do think audio 2D games have suffered far more from this lack of a second
> dimention, which has seriously affected gameplay. Even in the original Monti
> game, I noticed that there was very litle actual movement in the y axiss,
> the hole game ran on a system of essentially stratified left/right corridors
> linked by climbable ladders rather like prince of persia, some levels of
> original donkey kong or the old C64 classic Freddy.
>
> You didn't really have as much free vertical movement though as in something
> like mario brothers, ---- much less metroid or mega man.
>
> Just to illustrate, Take for instance the start of marrio brothers 1 as an
> example. When you've dealt with the initial goomba you are faced with a
> ledge above your head. you can walk undernieth it, or jump ontop of it.
> Walking undernieth will let you jump up and get the mushroom and coin block
> contained in that ledge, while jumping ontop will let you get the coin block
> up there, ---- you could, (alternatively), simply run under the ledge and
> miss the hole lot.
>
> Thus already we have three levels of vertical movement, not linked by
> ladders or anything else, and a number of options for how the player will
> handle these choices.
>
> I don't think representing this is in any way beyond the capabilities of
> audio, --- afterall, you'd only need to represent the ledges your character
> could immediately jump to (they can worry about the others once they get
> there), but nobody has yet done it, which is a shame.
>
> Beware the grue!
>
> Dark.
>
>
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