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Changing the game: High score chasing in Geometry Wars 2 August 25, 2008

Posted by Mike in Articles, Console, Games.

It’s such a simple idea, but aren’t they always the best ones?

Geometry Wars 2 has singlehandedly changed the visibility of high score chasing, accomplishing this via the use of one exceedingly clever gaming device: putting the online leaderboards front and centre in the game.  Every time you’re in the single player menu, your friends’ high scores for each of the six game modes are there staring at you.  When you start a new game, the score that’s one higher in the list than your own is up in the top-right hand corner, daring you to beat it.  There’s no need to back out to extraneous menus to see this information, which is a revelation.

The sense of competition between online friends on this game is a step beyond what I’ve seen before, and it’s all because of that next score laughing at your inadequate skill level, and the heat of the people behind you slowly getting closer to your own markers.  An intended five minute session on the game quickly turns into a two hour marathon as a result.  I personally have to beat at least one score before I feel able to turn GW2 off, otherwise I know that the names up in lights would still be there while I was sleeping, mocking me for my continuing failure.  The addition of special GW2 Gamercard sigs for online forums on MyGamercard.net, which links to people’s live scores for each of the modes, makes the race to the top of your friends list to remain in the mind even when away from the game itself.  It becomes an addiction.

Every developer of a title where high scores are important is going to copy the idea.  It’s undeniably evil, yet ridiculously compelling.  It’s the three-letter scoreboards from ancient Pacman and Space Invaders machines transported into the modern age: no longer just rivalries within one arcade, but accessible to the entire world, with no one involved able to tear themselves away from the continuing competition.

High score chasing lives, and we never knew how much we missed it until now.  Thank you, simplicity.



1. wyd71 - September 27, 2008

I hated the first Geometery Wars in spite of its beauty and estheic gameplay. In my opinon, one of the few “Arcade” orginal games. I hated Geometery Wars because it was difficult. Yes, lame I know, but true to fact, I had to work for every point that came a ship I blew up. A week ago I got together with several friends, all who play on Xbox live. The sang the praises of GW 2, I scoffed at them and teased them (secretly wanting to do as well as they did in the first game). Later that same night I went home and down loaded the demo (yet another fantastic idea)…I really like this game. I love beating my friends and keeping the competitive spirit that was inherit in the arcades alive in the home console genre. Score chasing is the small victory that keeps players playing together. It was the put-up-or-shut-up factor in gaming in it’s infancy and I am happy to contribute to it’s continuation. BTW, great article!

2. livescore - April 13, 2009

good idea..thanks

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