Continuing on from Part 1, where we looked at a few of the games that really made me think about how games are designed around a special moment that can happen on screen or in the player’s mind that make those games such unique and compelling experiences. Here’s another set of games that I think have a great magic moment.
Super Meat Boy:
This game is so hard, so frustrating and so much fun. There is definitely an audience for these games which is why Dark Souls and Elden Ring are so popular, It's really satisfying to finally beat the boss on your one thousand fifty-first try. You are going to make a lot of attempts to complete the tightly designed levels of Meat Boy and on completing the level, you will be rewarded with seeing a replay of all your attempts all at once, watching every different way you failed, and that one single amazing attempt that took you all the way, kind of reinforces the fact that the game was designed to force you to memorize the level to the point that you died and then make another attempt to go just that little bit further.
Your character Alex is carrying a radio that is more than it seems at first. Since it’s an adventure game I didn’t think much of using the radio for the first time on the boat, then when you are asked to use it for the second time I thought it would be a tool for retrieving information through the game, which it is. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I’ll just say that the radio produces some of the most interesting moments in the game. Games are generally designed around a core mechanic but I love the way the radio mechanic is tied into the story in Oxenfree. Usually, when you have some equipment in a game like a gun, gravity boots, or a boomerang hat, you know what to expect from using that item/mechanic, with the radio you can’t really be sure what’s going to happen which supports the thriller narrative and makes for great moments in the game.
Shadow of the Colossus:
If you’ve played Shadow of Colossus, you know there are plenty of great visually striking moments in the game. Galloping on your horse, while using your sword to reflect the sun in a direction that leads you to your next Colossus battle is Epic! Each battle is like a puzzle and you don’t really know what you’re in for until you get there. That journey across an open empty world to your next encounter gives you enough time to imagine what it could be, considering the previous colossi. When you get there and see the Colossus for the first time, for me that’s the magic moment – each one of them is as whimsical as the next. You need to spend some time getting a good look at it and the nearby surroundings to figure out how you’re going to get on top of it, so observing this creature from every possible angle is the only way to figure out how to solve the puzzle.