Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design


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January 15th, 2006

Game Idea #3: Mountain Bike Mike

Here’s week three’s new game idea! This one just came to me. Lucky too, as the couple other ideas I was incubating this week could all use some more time in the over.

High Concept:

Mountain Bike Mike is an extreme-sport + racing + adventure game. You play as Mike, an avid mountain biker that gets wrapped up in a big life-changing adventure one summer in the Rocky Mountains. You could think of it as “Cliffhanger but with mountain bikes.” But it’s a game. And Sly isn’t in it. And it’s good…

Platform:

Home Console

Why it needs to be made:

Mountain biking is just really, really fun. It combines speed, danger, exercise, and fresh-air. I don’t think any game has approached the subject matter in an honest, respectful way, and it’s a sport/hobby that deserves to be done right in a game. Mountain Bike Mike would be the game for mountain bikers.

Description:

The idea for Mountain Bike Mike actually started with an idea for the controls. I love control schemes that evoke the real-life activity, and I think you could do some cool stuff with mountain-bike controls. The first part of the idea is that you control your steering separately from your body weight, as controlling your weight on a bicycle is important, but especially important when you’re barreling down a mountain. The second part of the idea is that you control your front-brake independently from your rear-brake. While this might sound cumbersome, anyone who’s ever flipped a bike will tell you that there’s an important distinction here. :-)

Besides hauling arse down a mountain you can also sling your bike over your shoulder to cross ravines, climb cliffs, and use rope-bridges. Remember, I said the game had an adventure component, and I imagine the entire game taking place in an open world with explorable nooks and crannies. And besides, if you can’t strut your stuff how else are you going to mack on the bikerinas?

Why it will be fun:

Sometimes giving the player more control over fewer things can make for more fun gameplay. Mountain Bike Mike might require a little bit more skill than your average extreme-sports game, but I think the difficulty could be kept reasonable by leaving out combat and explicit tricks. But from a really high level, any game that lets your go really really fast is fun, and catching air is really fun. Just imagine that intensity combined with the risk of hitting a rock and getting tossed off your bike. (Don’t worry, I won’t make you walk back uphill to get your bike, or change a flat. Yuck!)

Final thoughts:

Extreme sports games haven’t been doing so hot lately. Maybe Mountain Bike Mike will be the game that turns it all around.


7 Responses to “Game Idea #3: Mountain Bike Mike”

  1. Ben commented:
    posted January 16th, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    The control scheme sounds really interesting, I can envision this on an Xbox controller with the thumbsticks controlling your steering and body weight, and the triggers being the front and back brakes. Having to be careful to not just slam the front brakes, rather having to ease the brakes carefully would be an interesting mechanic.

    I’m not a mountain biker but I’d play this game, heh.

  2. Patrick Moran commented:
    posted January 17th, 2006 at 11:04 am

    I think this would be really successful as a game if you create an amazing sense of danger and threat to the player. Riding on narrow ledges on the edges of cliffs, taking a jump while going down a really steep moutain side, or flying through a forest of closely placed trees would be great fun. Would you contain the playing area to linear paths down the mountain like SSX or opt for the free form feel of Tony Hawk?

  3. Patrick commented:
    posted January 31st, 2006 at 2:20 am

    Yes, this game would be all about danger. The trick would be making it somehow meaningful to the player without being super punishing.

    I see the game as being open-world and very free-form. You would end up with some linear paths out of necessity, but the next-gen systems just might let you do an entire mountain top complete with flora and fauna.

  4. Mike Cutis commented:
    posted February 27th, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    I like it.

    I like it a lot.

    I have the scars to prove it.

    There will, of course, be a Steamboat Springs Mad Descent Module, of course?

    For added difficulty, beginners and hikers are strewn around the course.

    Negative points for passing peds without warning (at least a “Tally Ho!”) and serious, SERIOUS negative points for hitting a ped.

    Positive points for stopping to help another biker, giving directions, and pushing the 15 year old Banzai Assholes off the edge after they’ve hit a ped.

    : )

    -mikey

  5. Greg commented:
    posted June 18th, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    Sounds like the perfect fit for the PS3 and its new Dual Shake controls. I’ve seen plenty of ‘extreme’ TV shows where they love to show how one wrong swing of the handlebars leads to massive injuries.

    -Greg

  6. Patrick commented:
    posted June 18th, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    You know, I was *just* re-reading this game idea and thinking how much I like it. The PS3 and Wii controllers would certainly add that extra something to this idea. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design » Archive » Game Idea #29: Bike Messenger Mike commented:
    posted July 16th, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    […] It’s still really hot outside… I wanted to post a concept that was somehow environmentally-friendly and I stumbled across this “sequel” to Mountain Bike Mike… and well… it wrote itself. […]


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