Mischief Makers

As Laura and I have been trudging through the rain-soaked jungles of the new Tomb Raider, one issue continues to pop up during gameplay: useless checklists.  It seems like every time we guide Miss Croft into a new area, there is some sort of collectible item or little sub-quest that tries to distract us from the main storyline.  Being asked to burn enemy propaganda or collect rare mushrooms from the forest floor is hardly the most direct route for Lara to save her friends and escape this treacherous island.  These little tasks seem like nothing more than a means to extend the game’s time spent in the disk tray.

I would not mind so much if the item collection had any real bearing on the story, or provided us with more character development or plot depth.  Better yet, what if these little tasks lead the player to extra gameplay sequences, or a special ending?  Back in 1997, the famed action-game developers at Treasure included such a mechanic in Mischief Makers.

MischiefMakersBoxAn odd Nintendo 64 game that features a mechanical girl who shakes little robot people for crystals, Mischief Makers is my favorite game from Treasure (right after Gunstar Heroes, that is).  The story revolves around the android Marina Lightyears, who is on a quest to save her creator, Professor Theo, from his evil twin brother.  Much of the title features traditional side-scrolling action gameplay, where Marina must use her grabbing and throwing skills to make her way across the planet Clancer.  In each level there are different colored gems to collect, which mostly serve as health-restoratives.  Red, blue, and green gems are in abundance throughout the game, but there was only one gold gem per stage, for good reason.

MischiefMakersGemsOften hidden within the level (or earned by defeating a boss character without getting hit once), the golden gems were the only collectible item within Mischief Makers.  Initially, the gold tokens just seem like a challenge for advanced players to collect, but once the final stage is completed, their true purpose is revealed: the gems directly affect the ending of the game.  As the finale begins to play, the gems act as grains of sand for an hourglass.  Depending on how many gems are found, the duration of the ending would increase, revealing more backstory and character development.

So as games continue to add more and more tidbits to collect and checklists to be completed, I hope developers take a look back at Mischief Makers for inspiration.  After all, aren’t video games supposed to be a distraction from lists of chores?

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One thought on “Mischief Makers

  1. fabio says:

    Sono impressionato dalla qualit delle informazioni su questo sito. Ci sono un sacco di buone risorse qui. Sono sicuro che visiter di nuovo il vostro blog molto presto.

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