Game Mechanics

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Yo yo yo, just thought I’d do a quick post (okay, well, not as quick as that Sonic one, but also far less depressing!).

Getting back into the swing of working on FPA again, I’ve begun thinking about game mechanics, and analyzing games that I’m playing even more so than usual.

So I’d like to know, what’s your favorite game mechanics? This post got quite a bit longer than I thought it would, so click below for my answer, and some musings on saving in games and game difficulty…

I’ve been playing Resident Evil 5 co-op split screen with Fairly (we just finished it last weekend), and Henry Hatsworth on the DS. Haven’t beaten it yet, but it’s definitely a great game. It definitely gets pretty hard near the end, which I really appreciate, but I always wonder how difficult I should actually make FPA games. I try to make the main game pretty easily beatable, while hoping that the side levels and challenges provide decent difficulty, but then players still decide that they just simply MUST get that headache badge on, and thus are entitled to complain about how difficult I made World 2 in their comments :/

Anyways, I’m definitely digging some of the mechanics in Henry Hatsworth, like the balance of the puzzle on the bottom and the item system for the platformer on top, and beating up enemies after their dead is always fun (though I read a review on I believe that thought Hatsworth was the only platformer out there that allowed you to continue to bet up on baddies after they’re dead, I was quite insulted! haha), and tossing bombs, then matching a few lines in the puzzle to power up those bombs is a pretty sweet mechanic.

So back to the question, my all-timer has got to be the suit system in Mario Bros. 3, which I’d also consider my favorite game ever, as I’ve probably written on this site more than a few times. I used to go back and play World 5 over again to rack on on Tanooki suits (this was the Super Mario All-Stars version, where you could actually save your game and go back to play the different worlds over), and try to go back to other levels and beat them without losing the suit. Did the same thing with the Hammer Bros. suit.

Which leads me to an interesting observation… I bought Mario 3 for GBA a little while ago, and when you beat every level in that game, everything opens up so you can just play levels over and over again. In the SNES version, it would save your open levels if you just quit the game, but if you select a different world, all of the levels would be locked again. You would have to beat those first few levels of World 5 to get to that Tanooki suit. In the GBA one, you could just go to that mushroom house over and over again, without really earning it. Once I did that, I didn’t really want to go back and play the game over again, though I did eventually start a new save file, heh.

What do you think? Does unlocking everything, like all levels, or infinite ammo in something like Resi4 or 5 ruin the replay value, rather than enhance it? Or am I just crazy since I play for the challenge, not just to spam the super attacks of the game? I think back to all the old GameBoy games that I have that I’ve played over and over again, going all the way back to the beginning of the game if I got a game over, and to this day still feeling like they have near infinite replay value, since it took me years to beat any of them when I was younger.

Maybe I am just crazy, and gamers nowadays just want to get to the end of a game and be done with it, heh.


  1. WJUK

    I loved the Tanooki Suit too, it was beyond awesome.

    Anyway, if we’re talking about unlocking everything at end-game… I’m not a particularly big fan of that. I prefer it if you do something to earn that certain thing to be unlocked. Although one thing I like is after finishing the main game, there are side missions levels unlocked that are harder (a la Portal).

    As for replay value, it works a little differently in flash games and full-priced console games. Despite how good your game is (and it is usually really good) you’ve got to accept that most people would probably play it 1 or 2 times max with flash games, that’s why you’ve got to make a big impression straight away to get them to continue playing.

    Whereas with console (or PC) games, where the consumer has to directly pay with their hard-earned money the situation changes. I find I’m more willing to give the game a second chance at making an impression, to wow me to keep playing just to justify the inordinate amount of money spent on it – you’ve got to agree new games are pricey.

    Replay value, therefore, is a big thing for console games (and flash games too really). But a lot of times it’s done in the totally wrong way. One good example I can think of from the top of my head was the multiplayer in Far Cry 2. To get all the games and manuals, you literally had to poured your heart and soul into the game and spend every waking minute playing to unlock every single one and reach level 40 (or something). It’s ridiculous.

    I much prefer, as a general rule, something where everyone starts on a blank canvas and the only differing thing is really skill (Halo 3, Left 4 Dead) rather than level-based multiplayer (CoD4/5). I feel this provides more replay value as some people aren’t at a specific advantage even before the game starts.

  2. orange

    well when we are talking about difficulty we have to work out what makes a level hard. in the cast of FPA there are a few things that can make a level hard.
    1. the platforming could be hard. this would be caused by small or moving platforms.

    2.enemies. if there are a ton of enemies or just a few that are really powerful.

    ok so now that we know what makes a level hard how can we use this to make the game fun for every kind of player?
    the kind of player that likes an easy game does not tend to mess around in menus that much. so if we start the game off at a really easy setting they will be happy. now what do i mean by setting? in the menu there could be a setting for the difficulty that can have 3-5 or so stings at witch to place it. when this is changed the game code removes or changes the size of some of the platforms and other parts of land and/or it could and are make stronger the enemies. most of each level would be the same but little parts would be different, making the game harder.

    this would also make us (the really big fans) happy because we could play though each level on every difficulty and find the changes.

  3. Slugminni

    W2 is so quick, I usually just play through the whole thing. However, it’s nice to be able to get to The Swain’s level anytime. And you can still try to get all the pants in one run even if you have them all already, cuz the color changes anyway. BUT, if the games get real long, maybe you’d wanna make the levels less accessible for challenge’s sake. I love challenge. You wouldn’t want people to overlook a certain level, either.

    Hard platforming annoys me. Just saying. So I can’t really suggest a way to make the levels themselves more challenging besides more enemies.


  4. imbored

    The difficulty should definitely increase as the series goes. You should probably keep the levels linear, but make the secrets more difficult to find. You should have to solve puzzles more or something to find them. (Like maybe hitting switches or something. With the pencil lol) I think there should be a challenge section. Where you can choose from several unlockable challenges, each unique to either FPM or CPG. I do not think you should unlock everything when you finish, you should have to work for everything. I’m tired of writing but can’t wait to hear more about World 3!

  5. atomic1fire

    You could add some type of learning system, But that might put off newer players.
    You could add a few side stories, for the people who really want them

  6. Nyubis

    I believe the normal playthrough may become a little harder( since it’s really easy now); and that there are challenges and/or achievements that, when you completed them all gives you some extra aibility that’s not overpowered; but still fun and makes you wanna replay the game with this aibility again.

  7. GreeenMachine

    I know a lot of people want you to finish world 3 in the next month or so…but why want it so soon?The sooner you finish it,the less detail there is…and we all love detail…so I think we can just tough it out and wait for the release,which I hope doesn’t take forever…because we only have so much patience.

  8. bounceboy

    Hey Brad, I’ve noticed one other thing missing on FPM… its a flash game. most successful flash games go to the DS or the Wii.

    for example Line rider. that is on the DS.

    same with N 1.4!!

    they are games just as good as yours!!!

  9. Slugminni

    I actually disagree. I don’t like having to find all of something after you beat the game which has no real value. I mean, the golfball holes actually get you more pants, but I never saw Mario wearing the star coins! In any case, I think the adventure itself should be good enough that you don’t need too many extra knobbly bits for bragging rights or whatever.

    Brad, did you ever see those enemy ideas? I think LegoMyFoot made a cameo level, too, that you can accept or deny.

  10. Slugminni

    Sorry to double-post, but I’d just like to say that I meant whatever you hafta COLLECT has no real value. The game itself has value. I worded it a little weird in the post above, I know.

  11. nichaey

    So, you’re into challenges then eh brad?….I challenge you to complete world 5 in…duh duh duh…the frog suit!

    One of my favourite additions is always the mini-games. For instance, neither of the two pokemon stadium games for the 64 were really all that good, but the mini-games completely made up for it.
    I remember seeing an unfinished FPM spin off somewhere where you would spawn physics simulated blocks and you could run over them. Why not pull some strings and turn that into a full blown mini-game?

  12. OctoeJam

    I think that there should be 2 (count em’, two) storylines to FPM3. Each has about 5 levels and focuses on a differing character. You start as Fancy Pants, and learn about your sister, who is trying to exteriminate the Toothpick Ninja Clan. You have problems of your own: Angry Chameleon Ghosts. These bad guys hide in explosive garlic crates and can only be defeated by the Shock Bounce (s+Down Arrow, can activate buttons and move and makes giant pillbugs move around), and look like a chameleon-ghost thingy. They charge at FPM, throw explosive garlic, and can teleport if normal bouncing/sliding is attempted. He has to save the Mayor from these guys, who are trying to conquer Squiggleville. The mayor, before being captured, gives you a suitcase, and what’s in it but a heli-pack, a scuba suit, an umbrella, two spacesuits- and cool shades (put on for the rest of the game)! After going through a lava level (Heli-Pack), swimming through a desert Oasis (Scuba suit), and learning how to shock bounce from the creator (not a level), you need to free CPG from the Toothpick Ninjas! They have decided to hinder this new hero’s progress with the Angry Ghostigator! After defeating him in an icy dojo, CPG is free! Now you switch to her side of the campaign, where levels are more tricky and not meant for running, and even though she can triple jump, it only goes so high. You need to save Kabootle (beginning of first level) from a small group of Ninjas to proceed. Your enemies are: Ninjas, Rockupines (shoot lightning out of their guitars, also play a cool little diddy), and those birds from FPM1’s final level. You can defeat them using Kabootle’s claws, or CPG’s simple jump. Now, why is she going through a dense jungle, the upper atmosphere, and an abyssal cavern (along with a tropical beach, mini-boss is the Angry MechanoNinja) to get to those flowery doors? Simple- save the original hero of Squiggleville, Hottie Pants Momma! She’s been kidnapped by both the Toothpick Ninjas AND the Angry Chameleon Ghosts to become the operator of their superweapon in the Super Squiggly Space Station! Now, when you get out of the beach level, you enter Squiggleville as FPM. It looks alot like the ruins of Hiroshima, and is infested with The Chameleon Ghosts, and Spiders, and Angry Mice! After pressing a series of buttons, it’s CPG and Kitten Kabootle’s turn to activate the launch mechanism for the umbrella in the suitcase. Now they can fly Mary Poppins style to the Super Squiggly Space Station, and save Hottie Pants Momma! Now you don your spacesuits, and do a co-op level (switching chars. to activate machines to get into the SSSS) through space and into the space station (0% gravity, 0% physics! But Brad will make it really hard, right?), where the huge Anhiallator-o-tron is wating, with Angry HPM stuck to it! To free her, you must use the Shock Bounce to shoot missile blasts back at her, and avoid her laser bombs while pressing buttons to cause the machine to malfunction 3 times. Then you switch to CPG to beat enemies and eventually break away enough blocks to swing ontot he machine and triple jump onto HPM’s head, HPM will then rip you off and make more blocks to seal her in. Doing this three times frees her! And since 3 time’s the charm, you have a final space level to get the (knocked-out) Hottie Pants Momma back to her house in the rebuilt Squiggleville. The game ends with the three safely home and near a bulkhead entitled ‘World 4’, which emits beams of multi-colored light and strange sound when opened, but seems to just dump you back into the menu. Well, for replay value, you have to collect Trophies (bonus Easter Egg levels) and Hottie Pants Momma’s blouses to unlock abilities (Trophies) and levels (blouses). Pants colors correspond with trophy abilities. If you collect a trophy and the red pants color has a flame symbol, it will allow you to play the ‘Trial by Fire’ fun level of the Fun-fun World campaign by eating beans and then farting fire, like a jetpack. Other pants colors (collected by Fancy Golfball/Roll the Pillbug!) don’t matter, but the 8 pants colors (6 colors for each fun level, 2 colors for the original CPG and FPM pants) available from the start are required to unlock and play Fun-fun World levels (which are huge and hard, but unlock the bulkhead via lifting platform (offers vague hints/sketches/riddles regarding World 4, and the content of the bulkhead expands with every patch, the Fun-fun Campaign doors themselves have a smiley face on them) sixth by sixth. Also, you should be able to do run-throughs, and even create an arena to fight a Past boss or a premade miniboss for your enjoyment (make a background, place 2 squiggles, place the boss) once youv’e beaten both campaigns! Also, my Hottie Pants Momma has black-and-neon-green shorts, a shirt saying ‘One tough Momma’ (black-and-neon-green, with red lettering), and hair like Fancy’s mowhawk, except it grew more and became a long flowing ponytail. Her mouth and eyes are only present in the final boss, where she has hypno-goggles and a spider mouth. That’s my ideas. I’m your best fanatic, Mr.Borne! Keep ’em coming, and try jamming your fav ideas in from your fans, too!

  13. Maxmaxxmaxx2

    (the message i am about to post has been repeated, only because it was on an old post that isnt very much read.) Hey everyone! i just joined the site and i am a HUGE fan of FPA. I am anxiosly awaiting the release of FPA3. i was reading the comments ive read on other posts, and this site and the people were pretty cool. so why not join? sorry if this message was a bit to informative. =\ i talk a lot. (and yes, that goes for typing too.) You will most likely hear a lot from me.

  14. liphttam1


    I actualy did read it. I always check new messages on this site because it’s a bit unpopuler. I wish it could get more populer but then I wouldn’t exactlty feel like I know every one. The massive ammounts of posts would make it impossible to read them all. I would feel like I had less power. Hmm. Maby if it gets populer Brad could make me a mod. Oh and in case you havn’t figured it out yet brad is DrNeroCF and he’s engaged to Fairly Obvious.

  15. fancypantsfan250

    Hi Brad, newbie here.

    As far as game mechanics… how ’bout the accumulated squiggles be used to purchase things? Be it unlockable content or just power-ups in the game. It’d be nice for the squiggles to serve a purpose other than giving you 1-ups every one hundred of them.

  16. fancypantsfan250

    @ Slugminni:
    Well, if it’s for the good of the game then disregard the buyable content crap. The idea came to me after playing World 2 a bunch of times and having between 600 and 1,000 squiggles after each playthrough.

    I’ll open my trap if I can think of something much better.

  17. WJUK


    And I’d have to agree that buyable content just doesn’t suit FPA. The last thing you’d want to do is have a collectathon in FPA when you’ve got such a beautiful level to run around and have fun in.

  18. Niksterino

    Sometimes I have 20 minutes to get as much of the game done as possible…, I don’t really want to have too worry about having to collect squiggles because then it won’t be as fun to just ‘run through’ it sometimes..,

    Know what i’m sayin’?

  19. fancypantsfan250

    God, now I feel like I just tainted this game.

    We’ve established that the buyable content idea is crap. Can we drop it and move on to something else that could be added?

  20. qkilsdonk

    Maybe its fun to import achivements.
    for example:
    collected 100, 500, 1000 squiggles.
    headed a baddie 10 times in the air.
    compleeted a level without loosing life.
    compleet a level in x time.
    play 2 hours in row.

    some things like that can be fun 😀
    it’s not supposed for you to get profit from a achievement (just fun to brag with them xD).

  21. qkilsdonk

    @ fancypantsfan:
    That could be a good idea. I didn’t really think about the achievements though (just wrote some quick examples).

  22. Toocoolforyou

    I really think W3 should get a lot of freedom to move around since that was the really fun thing for me in world 2.Also I think the only changes or power-ups we need are pants colors and maybe a hairdo 😛
    Oh and if FPA ever comes out on DS I’ll probably buy it the following day since I’d imagine nothing better then having portable fancy pants (game that is :P)

  23. ashnazg998

    i know fpa has never been a puzzle game, but having some levels like that might be more interesting then simply having to kill huge amounts of enemies, even if the puzzles aren’t too hard, just finding switches and pressing them in the right order or something.

    i was also thinking that it would be more interesting to replay the game if there were things you couldn’t unlock the the first time you played through because you were following a plotline. maybe you don’t find out cutie pants is following you until the second level, so only after you finish the game (or that level) can you go back to the first level and play it with her, and then explore places you couldn’t before.

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