What games have you played by "ignoring" the game's intended purpose?

I was listening to the July 11 episode of the Conference Call and hearing Lara talk about how her son happily plays Super Mario World for hours simply collecting berries at Yoshi's house in the first stage reminded me of all the time I would play games and "ignore" the game's intended purpose.

My brother and I would spend hours in Worms, not as a fighting game but rather as a construction game, building sprawling structures from girders and tunneling across the level to join each of our mighty fortresses. We did the same thing in the original Red Faction and built tunnels using rocket launchers and the destructable terrain (it was the 90s, we're British, the Channel Tunnel was cool, ok?). And I'm sure I'm not the only one who played Ecco the Dolphin and spent more time on the first screen perfecting those jumps out of the water rather than being the super dolphin who defeats an alien invasion (or whatever the plot to that game was).

So tell me, what games have you played by "ignoring" the game's intended purpose?

A friend and I would play Night Driver on Atari with a bunch of real life paper maps and pretend that we were going on cross country trips.

I put hours and hours into GTA 3 just seeing how many cars I could line up and make explode in a chain, and then how long I could last after that against all the police that would swarm in. I never did any missions or anything else in that game, yet I still have fondness memories.

I have a tendency to play games "wrong" in that I delve really heavily into statistics and, above all, system optimization. Surviving Mars is about building a colony on mars for instance but I can spend hours figuring out the most optimal way to fit buildings into a limited space. Way more time than I spend playing the actual game, in which I would never need to use these designs. But that's where the fun is for me. I do similar things in Offworld Trading Company and Vermintide 2. Back when I still played Elite Dangerous I would spend maybe 20 times more time outside of the game just staring at a shipyard spreadsheet and meddling around with ship loadouts.

My dad used to play a lot of old PC golf games back when I was growing up. I too played them, but my goal was always to see how far out of bounds I could get my ball. Would the game let me land my shot on the beach? Could I hit a car in the course parking lot? Can I hit a window in the club house?

The other game that comes to mind from my childhood was this old Indycar racing game. It had a great instant replay camera system with slow motion and multiple camera angles, and it had decent (for the time) crash physics. My primary goal in that game was to create the largest crashes possible and check out the view from every angle. It was pretty great.

I enjoy the cheesy thrill of power-leveling solo Vaan in Final Fantasy XII. I start to lose steam when I can take down the T-Rex in the Estersand.

When I was a kid I stayed up all night at a friend's house grinding levels in Dragon Warrior just to see how high the numbers would go, unwittingly nerfing his save file.

The only reason I complete missions in MGS: Peace Walker is to have more personnel to pore over in base-building mode.

Likewise, the only reason I play levels in Knights in the Nightmare is to win fodder for the weapon upgrade system. I like the condensing process of upgrading and merging the weapons. It scratches the same itch as simplifying messy programming code.

EriktheRed wrote:

My dad used to play a lot of old PC golf games back when I was growing up. I too played them, but my goal was always to see how far out of bounds I could get my ball. Would the game let me land my shot on the beach? Could I hit a car in the course parking lot? Can I hit a window in the club house?

The other game that comes to mind from my childhood was this old Indycar racing game. It had a great instant replay camera system with slow motion and multiple camera angles, and it had decent (for the time) crash physics. My primary goal in that game was to create the largest crashes possible and check out the view from every angle. It was pretty great.

I had completely forgotten until I read your post, but I used to do both of those things too. The scenery would get really messed up in the Links golf games if you got too close.

These days I usually play games “properly” but my daughter can spend hours in the Lego Marvel game just flying to the highest point you can reach then switching to Iceman and skating down ice ramps to the ground...

EriktheRed wrote:

The other game that comes to mind from my childhood was this old Indycar racing game. It had a great instant replay camera system with slow motion and multiple camera angles, and it had decent (for the time) crash physics. My primary goal in that game was to create the largest crashes possible and check out the view from every angle. It was pretty great.

Was that Stunts? Because I remember doing exactly that in that game. It had a track editor too, which I spent a huge amount of time making the most ridiculous impossible things I could. I doubt I ever bothered actually completing a single race.

halfwaywrong wrote:
EriktheRed wrote:

The other game that comes to mind from my childhood was this old Indycar racing game. It had a great instant replay camera system with slow motion and multiple camera angles, and it had decent (for the time) crash physics. My primary goal in that game was to create the largest crashes possible and check out the view from every angle. It was pretty great.

Was that Stunts? Because I remember doing exactly that in that game. It had a track editor too, which I spent a huge amount of time making the most ridiculous impossible things I could. I doubt I ever bothered actually completing a single race.

No the game i played was IndyCar Racing.

halfwaywrong wrote:
EriktheRed wrote:

The other game that comes to mind from my childhood was this old Indycar racing game. It had a great instant replay camera system with slow motion and multiple camera angles, and it had decent (for the time) crash physics. My primary goal in that game was to create the largest crashes possible and check out the view from every angle. It was pretty great.

Was that Stunts? Because I remember doing exactly that in that game. It had a track editor too, which I spent a huge amount of time making the most ridiculous impossible things I could. I doubt I ever bothered actually completing a single race.

My brother used to build me tracks in stunts trying to make it impossible for me to complete. He designed a couple of amazingly difficult tracks with things like jumps onto spiral ramps, sharp turns up a hill that you needed to use as a ramp to jump up onto elevated track that would then immediately turn, etc. and that was before he learned the track editor had scroll bars, so he packed it all into one tiny corner of the map. I didn't have that much ridiculous stunt driving fun again until trackmania, but ultimately the name of that game is stunts, so I'm not sure how much that really is "not playing it right".

In the Carmen Sandiego games I used to try playing as the crooks; when it asked you to enter your name, I would put in "Carmen Sandiego", or the name of one of the crooks from the manual. I never found a version that prohibited all of the crooks, but I also think every version prohibited some of them.

I also had fun with some friends playing counterstrike by stacking ourselves 4 or 5 players tall. No one expects to come around a corner in that game and see 3 or 4 stories of CT agents!

I’m not unique in this, but in Skyrim I abandoned the main quest line ASAP. I nerfed myself in doing so because there were some important shouts that I was missing.

I decided that I was going to be a “demon hunter”. Or Daedra hunter to be more exact. I would go after any quest involving Daedra. Those bastards are hard to take down. They keep using their extra-dimensional power on you as you try to kill them.

There are a few “good” Deadra deities. And I would always try to garner their favor. But even the good ones are cold hearted.

I never completed my self imposed quest. If I ever replay Skyrim, I’m going to get the main quest out of the way and then try to get back to hunting the Daedra.

RawkGWJ wrote:

I’m not unique in this, but in Skyrim I abandoned the main quest line ASAP. I nerfed myself in doing so because there were some important shouts that I was missing.

(1) Why would anyone abandon all those sweet rolls?

(2) Shouts?

Recreational Villain wrote:

(1) Why would anyone abandon all those sweet rolls?

(2) Shouts?

(1) IKR

(2)

^ What kind of amateur doesn't unbind that key before a swank dinner party

Between here and the Switch thread I really feel like getting back into Skyrim now!

I think it was Total Drivin on the PSOne. I think. Quite a while back. My friend and I would go off-road to find secluded places in two player, for the purpose of hide and seek with cars. It was awesome. No looking by the other player as one went to hide. The in-car view, once hidden, obscured most visual aid. You could submerge somewhat in water, or go over a ridge and teeter on the edge. Unlike in most racers with barriers or countdown resets to the track, this one allowed veering off the beaten path. We were always doing this. Good times.

In my youth, I would go over to a friend’s house to play the original Police Quest from Serria Games. Back then the game fit on three 5 1/4” diskettes, where certain locations in the city are split across. I can’t quite remember how but the 3rd disk we had was damaged so at a certain point in the game we couldn’t continue. Once reaching the location the story required us to go by driving to it in the patrol car, it would prompt us for the 3rd disk. But if we hit escape, it would simply leave us on the city map in the car.

So off we went; we kept driving around town, following other cars, flashing the sirens and making up our own stories shuttling between the police station, city jail, bar and city park. We kept this up for months, discovering that you can lose in the game by taking a shower in the police locker room and simply walking out while still wearing your towel.

Eventually we managed to get a copy of disk 3 from a Friend and finished it but it never quite was the Quest we came up with in our heads.

I used to make Civilization play itself for thousands of years past the end date to see what would happen. Does that count?