Coyote Time Gives You An Extra Second
A common trope in platformers. “Coyote Time” is a term used by developers for the split-second of time you have before you start falling after walking off a ledge. Games like Crash Bandicoot and Super Mario all use this little trick of the mind. And games like Donkey Kong Country explicitly require you to use it to complete the game!
Then there’s Subnautica, which gives you a final few seconds to survive when you’re drowning underwater. Just as you black out from lack of Oxygen, you’ll still have a few seconds to emerge from the water. It’s a nice little trick meant to really give you the feeling of a last minute salvation.
Not Every Enemy Shoots You
Not every enemy on-screen will shoot you. So you don’t feel completely overwhelmed in a battle, some games limit which bad guys will start blasting in combat. In Red Faction: Guerilla, only the closest enemies will shoot at you on low alert levels — other enemies will react and become alerted, but won’t shoot.
In Half-Life 1, only two enemies will ever attack you at the same time. In combat against a squad of soldiers, only two of those soldiers will ever simultaneously attack you — when they’re not, they shout stuff like “Flanking” to give you the impression they’re making a decision. In reality, they’re just stalling for time.
Sometimes Developers Hide Bugs & Crashes In Plain Sight
Developing games is hard. There are countless problems and finite time to solve them all. Sometimes a bug or crash requires a clever solution — and the developers of Godfather figured out a funny one to “fix” a crash. When the crash event was detected in-game, an invisible sniper would one-hit kill the player. That’s one way to avoid a crash.
Upgrades & Stats Don’t Always Do Anything
From the same developer as Godfather, Visceral also created the Hellish action game Dante’s Inferno. Due to a bug that wasn’t discovered until late in development, the health upgrades you acquire throughout the game don’t actually do anything — they make the health meter longer, but don’t actually give you more HP. Seriously!
Then there are games like Hi Octane. In this racer, each car has specific stats listed on the selection screen — but the stats are meaningless. Every car does control slightly differently, but the stats are just meant to evoke a feeling. They aren’t literal!
Destroy the illusion and discover some of the most fascinating ways developers trick us. Get more on the next page.