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this is somewhat off topic but related, but i interviewed someone who holds the world record for Hammerless Donkey Kong, uh, which i guess can be considered "Emergent Donkey Kong." You basically play the game without using the hammers (duh)


The British video game magazine Digitiser suggested an "Improvement via Improper Gameplay" for (some of?) the games they reviewed for a while in exactly that style. I cannot recall any specific examples but do know they had some crackers.

Theorists might say that emergent gameplay represents the difference between playing a specific game and just playing with a specific game.


Excellent article! Make an old game fun again. People better respond en masse to that posting. I've thought of some more:

Rally Cross Jarts:

Play Rally Cross for the PS1, and play on the tropical island track, whatever that was called. It's the one with the really tall jump before the tunnel. Player one positions himself near the mouth of the tunnel, which is about where a car will land, when jumping from the top of the hill. Player B heads back a ways on the track, getting a good run-up to the jump. Player B hit the jump at top speed, trying to land on player one's car. It ain't easy, but when it works, player one gets to see a tiny speck emerge from the horizon, slowly growing into a vehicle that comes straight through your windshield. Trade places. Repeat.

Mount Chilliad Hill Climb:

GTA San Andreas (PS2). Enter two player run-around mode. Grab a motorcycle. One player drives. The other shoots police. A dirt bike is better but a police bike will also works, and angers the authorities. Shoot some people till you get at least three stars (five is better), then proceed to Mount Chiliad, with the constabulary in tow. The goal is to make it to the top of the mountain, via the switchback road. The police will somehow head you off with SUVs and maybe even swat trucks, but they are as likely to fall off the cliff as they are to stop you. If you make it to the top, your reward is a two-man vehicular base jump from one of the highest points in San Andreas. I think Dave and I once made it up, down, and up again without dying.

War of the Monsters Javelin Tennis

War of the Monsters (PS2). Two players scale buildings a good distance apart. The basic square new-yorky level is a good place. Find an antenna or flag pole and take turns throwing it at each other. It is possible to catch a thrown object by hitting your "throw" button at exactly the right time. It's pretty hard, and its even harder if you're using a flag pole, as they are really hard to see coming. If course, if you miss your catch, you get lanced through the chest, and there's the rub. Last monster standing wins.

Doom Cacko-Baiting

I don't know if this counts, but it was really fun. Choose a level with cacodemons in it, preferrably behind a player-controlled door. One player teases the caco till it only has eyes for him. A few bullets should hurt it just enough to focus on him. This should ensure that player two goes largely ignored. Player two harasses the demon from behind, using only fists, until it is dead. The caco should remember the sting of the bullets to the exclusion of the punches up the rump. All cacodemons throughout the level must be handled in this way.

Adventure Pack Rat

This goes back to the days of Adventure on the Atari 2600. Basically you get greedy and posess every object in the game. Every dragon, key, (the) bridge, magnet, bat, sword, and secret dot must be in your gold castle before you bring home the chalice. If you want to get real fancy, keep the dragons alive.



Back in the old day, when we got bored losing at two player Battletoads, we would do competitive jousting matches. Each player would pick a side of the screen, then you dash towards each other and do your super attack. Last player out of lives loses. You get bonus points if you can pick someone up and throw up off a ledge.


Hey, cool article! I always enjoy seeing what kinds of games people have invented inside the world of other games. The best and most replayable titles seem to lend themselves easily to this kind of manipulation.

Some of my friends participate in what they call the 'Nade Olympics in various first person shooters... basically see how far you can hurl yourself with the explosion of a grenade at your feet.

I can remember once a couple friends and I were on X-Box Live and a bunch of kids tried to get us to play "Cops & Robbers" Halo. Basically you couldn't actually shoot people, you had to sneak up behind them and tell them to freeze, then escort them to a designated "prison area". Okay, so that was pretty lame, but it was funny seeing them try to enforce their rules on people as it all went to chaos around them.

I think the ultimate though is River City Ransom! You could just beat up a buddy if you were bored, or play baseball with the bats and rocks that were sitting around. Classic stuff!


Ragnarok Online:

I don't know if this works anymore. We were doing this during the beta when there really wasn't anything else to do.

Step 1: Round up between 1 and 20 good friends.
Step 2: Head to the desert town, and walk right up to the city limit.
Step 3: Have someone count down from 3-2-1.
Step 4: Make a dash for the pyramid, clicking furiously but strategically to maximize speed.
Step 5: Barrel down through the pyramid dungeon as fast as you can go to the bottom level.
Step 6: Invariably, the very, very nasty enemies will start heading after the first person in the race, and will only be a few feet behind, which means that if you slip too far behind the leader you're in for a wall of about 200 very upset mummies.
Step 7: Winner is anyone who makes it to the end alive.


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