I'd like to start out by apologizing for the pompous title, I blame it on watching too much the Big Bang theory and the pseudo-scientific naming of their shows.  Anyhow.

I've recently been playing a lot of Asphalt 9 on Switch.  It's a F2P arcade racer with high production values, snazzy visual effects, flashy menu's and even flashier flashing buttons and cooldown timers inviting you to try out all of it's mentization mechanics.  But I'm willing to forgive (and ingore) the efforts of these developers to actually earn 92 cents form me for all the hard work they're obviously putting in because the gameplay is something I really enjoy.  At it's base it's an arcade racer with real world, licensed supercars that you drive through fictuous tracks located in the warmth and familiartiy of stereotipical depictions of actual locations.  You race along these tracks, sometimes for multiple laps, sometimes just from A to B, drifting around long winding curvy tracks, filling your boost meter as you go for an extra jolt of nitro fueled speed as you overtake the pack.  As you would in any self respecting arcade racer.  You can also crash your competition by pushing them against the sides of the track, colliding with them while boosting, or, and here it comes: performing a 360° spin attack on them.  The suspension of disbelief goes further, as the track is littered with pickups that will fill your boost meter, and 2 kinds of ramps.  The ones that just have you cross a gap in the track, and the kind that does so while letting you perform barrel rolls.  Barrel rolls!

Personally I'm all a-ok with the above.  I do enjoy racing around in real cars, but have never cared much for sim elements, even less so for physics that would keep me from doing a barrel roll during a jump with my BMW Z4.  But then something happened.  I was tasked with a race in a snowy Tibetian setting.  Reach from A to B in an exhilerating downhill race.  And it all dawned on me.  Asphalt 9 is not a racing game.  Not in the sense that it purports to be.  Asphalt 9 is in fact an extreme snowboarding game in the vein of SSX.

It may feature cars, and most of it's tracks aren't set on a slope, but honnestly what else is a slop other than a flat plain in which you are propelled forward by the force of gravity, it's force applied in an angle to the surface resulting in a forward momentum?  What is drifting, if not the asphalt relative to carving out a perfect turn?  As for the barrel rolls and the 360° 's, snowboarding (or at least skiing or the similar skateboarding) is where those things came to be.

So there you have it.  Asphalt 9 might feature cars, prominently so, but at it heart it takes more cues from another criminally ignored genre.  This got me thinking if I could come up with more games that mislead gamers as to what type of game they are actually playing.  One could argue for Portal, a game that seemingly gives you a gun to wield in first person perspective, but turns out to be a spatial puzzler.  Perhaps someone here could come up with better examples?

Posted by SupremeAC Thu, 21 Nov 2019 08:38:31 (comments: 2)
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