A form of Deconstruction
, which has apparently become a rising fad in flash games
A deconstruction game is a game that deconstructs aspects of Video Games
in general. At the minimum, it takes one aspect, and blows it up to such ridiculously exaggerated proportions
that it simply becomes laughable, as if to make a point that "You can't make a game based just on this!" or with some, "If you enjoy games because of this one reason then you are an idiot!"
In order to qualify, a single part of the game at the minimum must take at least one single trope, mechanic, or gimmick, and either explore it exhaustively to the possible point of Mind Screw
, or play it far too simple and flat to be taken seriously. Typically they rely heavily on their nature as a parody to be entertaining, but on rare occasions they're fun to play as well. They often make use of Playing The Player
- Shadow of the Colossus: Boss Battles. The game is almost nothing but boss fights, and what little bit of plot the game has makes most players question whether they're really doing the right thing by killing them.
Hack and Slash
- Harvester: A deconstruction of Evil Is Cool and Video Game Cruelty Potential - not through heavy-handed moralizing, however. It's a mockery of the accusation that video game violence causes real violence by making the violence cartoonishly bleak, unrealistic, and improbable to follow through on. Even the bad ending outright states that censorship of fictional violence is moronic.
- META: Amateur adventure game design.
- Flower, Sun and Rain: Sidequests, convenient puzzles, event flags and adventure game mechanics in general. The game, and often even the characters, will deliberately waste your time while your actual mission is to stop a terrorist from blowing up a plane. No one's really clear on why you need to solve math puzzles at every turn, either, but they seem to accept it as normal. In the end, your reward is mostly mockery.
- Takeshi's Challenge was specifically designed to piss off the type of completionists and Easter Egg hunters who would beat a spectacularly bad game just to see if they could.
- The Stanley Parable deconstructs linear games that Railroad the player while giving the illusion of a living, explorable world. The creator of the game explains, "You will make a choice that does not matter. You will follow a story that has no end. You will play a game you cannot win."
- Drakengard deconstructs a variation of Level Grinding showing us just what kind of person would slaughter armies of enemies in order to strengthen his weapons.
- You Only Live Once: Platformers in the vein of Mario.
- DLC Quest: Overreliance on Downloadable Content.
- Level Up: Leveling up in games.
- Braid: The classic Save the Princess story is followed to the letter, even being called out by name, until the last few levels, when your motives become increasingly questioned, and the princess is revealed as fleeing you the whole game.
- Sonic the Hedgehog OmoChao Edition: Stop Helping Me! (This game actually has added challenge — you have to avoid everything that triggers Omochao's comments as much as possible for Rank Inflation, and for Speed Run enthusiasts, there's the fact that the timer won't freeze whenever Omochao speaks.)
- While not otherwise a deconstruction, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts opens with a Gotta Catch 'Em All sequence played ludicrously simple. The fact that this is coming from Rare makes it all the more painful.
- Default Dan takes every convention of the genre, and flips them around. Coins, cute enemies, cupcakes and other power-ups are bad, pits, spikes, and other normally lethal things are good, the princess kidnaps the hero's monster friend instead of the other way around... However, it's all Played for Laughs.
Shoot Em Ups
- The Modron dungeon in Planescape: Torment: Dungeon crawlers in general. Complete with enemies who don't know their motivation and leave items like, "A goody!" The game at large is a very thorough deconstruction of Protagonist Without A Past and Death Is a Slap on the Wrist. Instead of being simple gameplay mechanics, these things are the wheels that drive all character development.
- Planescape: Torment as a whole also serves a large-scale deconstruction of RPG tropes. Among others, the point of the game is to die, you get your name at the end of the game, there are no elves, dwarves, or swords but you do get to equip eyeballs and your own intestines, the nicest people you get to meet are undead, and so forth.
- Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale. Item shops.
- Progress Quest: RPGs that assign players randomly generated quests and don't require any real strategy. The game automates grinding and fetch quests which is all the game is.
- Ginormo Sword: Arguably, grinding and the emphasis on weapon upgrades.
- Yume Nikki: Exploration and sandbox gameplay. The entire game is a Beautiful Void and there is no plot to speak of, which has prompted elaborate Fanon and Wild Mass Guessing on behalf of the players, in an attempt to invest the game with externalised meaning.
- Super Press Space to Win Action RPG 2009: RPGs in general, and overly-linear Quick Time Event-heavy action RPGs in particular. The credits specify that the game was "inspired by God of War".
- Parameters is all about distilling an RPG to its purest bare-bones form: all the enemies and quests are represented by simple boxes and numbers and all you need to do is to click repeatedly on them. It manages to be pretty enjoyable nonetheless.
- Progress Quest takes it even further, with no degree of player interaction beyond creating your character (which actually has no effect on "game" "play" anyway...) It could be argued that it's more of an exercise in waiting rather than a game.
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is a deconstruction of the entire Star Wars franchise, especially the traditional Light/Dark dichotomy, as well as a variety of RPG concepts.
- Dragon Age II has been called a deconstruction of BioWare's usual fare or of adventure RPGs in general. The protagonist is stuck between two ancient factions with reasonable people and dangerous fanatics present in both. Unlike, say, Commander Shepard, they ultimately fail to resolve the situation peacefully (though not for lack of effort) and a costly civil war breaks out. It also ramps up the amount of disposable relatives fantasy heroes tend to have - it's entirely possible to be the only surviving member of your family by the end.
- DonPachi takes apart the concept of the One-Man Army commonly present in single-player video games, showing that in order to be able to take on enemy forces by themselves, prospective recruits have to slaughter their own military forces as training exercises. Only after seven years of this training is the player character finally fit to enter the elite DonPachi Squadron.
- Desert Bus, from Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors: Simulation Games. The simulation aspect is carried so far that the game is somehow less fun than it would be to actually drive a bus through a desert. Part of the point is making fun of how Moral Guardians claim video games to be ultra-realistic gore fantasies - a video game always takes some liberties with real life, or you get Desert Bus.
- Cart Life is a deconstruction of business simulators. You play the role of a small business owner attempting to start and maintain a retail business in a city. However, just like in real life, you don't get an objective menu, and there are no directions on where you need to go and what you need to do. Most importantly, it completely averts the expectation that you can pause the game by bringing up the menu screen. Just like in real life There is absolutely no way for the player to pause the flow of time even when you are trying to read the description on a product or chat with a customer. And that is before even getting into the actual business part, in which you need to doing everything from getting the products from a supermarket to getting a permit yourself, all the while trying to balance and maintain the basic needs and addition of your character. In other words, the game demonstrates just how not fun and difficult it is to run a small business (and being a new immigrant/single mother) is in real life.
- Nanashi no Game uses the cursed, nameless game to deconstruct RPGs. There's no battles to win, levels to grind or heroics to engage in — you just walk around, talk to people and collect hidden items that must be found to reach the good ending.
- Spec Ops: The Line is a far more successful deconstruction of military shooters compared with the aforementioned Haze, stating that, for all their pretense of gritty realism, they are still escapist, dehumanizing, unrealistic power fantasies. One sequence in particular becomes exponentially more horrifying if you've played the similar, yet more throwaway "Death From Above" level in Modern Warfare. While it's at it, it also deconstructs playing shooters as a Power Fantasy, "moral choice" systems and the America Saves the Day trope. In fact, it takes it so far that many players declared it to have gone too far, going straight into ham-handed You Bastard territory, rendering it a commercial disaster.
- Achievement Unlocked: Achievements.
- Upgrade Complete: Upgrades.
- The sequel addresses some things they forgot the first time around. You can now upgrade the part limit on your ship, among other things (including your heart rate).
- :the game: and REPLAYING :the game:: Cut-and-Paste Environments.
- Help The Hero: Grid Inventory
- Steamshovel Harry: Forced Tutorials. There is no game. The earth will be destroyed in fifteen minutes— and the tutorials take far longer!
- Execution by Jesse Venbrux can be seen as a deconstruction of Flash "assassin" games. The only way to "win" is to quit. Restarting after you've killed your target results in an "it's already too late" message and shows you the failure screen, even if you delete and reinstall the game. This is because the game records your loss in your computer's registry.
- Don't Shoot the Puppy: Press X to Die.
- The Stanley Parable: Narrative and choice, along with several smaller aspects of games that promise an open world but confine you to a linear story progression. The HD remake also deconstructs the line between author and narrator, narrators themselves, and binary morality and lose-lose morality plays.
- Video Game Morality Play is a deconstructive mockery of You Bastard games (but especially inspired by Spec Ops: The Line), by showing off how pointless the You Bastard critique is (you have a life outside violent video games, you know) or how said games tend to put words in the player's mouth, find fault with everything the player does, and leads to a pretentious ending.
- Qwop: Some Dexterity Required.
- Cow Clicker deconstructed the idea of social games like Farmville, by distilling it to just the simple mechanics. You had a cow, and you can click on it after set intervals. You could click on it more often by paying real world money. And you could post it on your Facebook feed and invite friends. Despite the simple ideas the game still included a feature set that created a Meta Game with factions and meta strategy. Eventually the creator became disturbed by how popular it became, and believed that it was stealing when people actually did spend money on the game, leading to a "Cowpocalypse" end of the game.
- Side Quest: Side Quests
- Frog Fractions parodies Edutainment Games that are more "game" than "edutainment" by presenting a game about fractions that does very little to teach you how fractions work, and quickly goes wildly and hilariously off the rails.
- Donít Kill the Cow: In order to win don't kill the cow, but your wife will starve to death as result.