So what the hell else can we build in Minecraft? Another mass mob holocaust? A mincart station that has hundreds of destinations? Another giant creeper statue? Replacing every block with TNT?
Disgaea: How epic and shiny can the attacks get? How high can the damage and level caps go? How many Little Miss Badasses can we cram into the game? How cracktacular can we make the next chapter preview? What hilarious but utterly depraved deed will our "heroes" try now? How hard can we smash the fourth wall this time? Just how evil and powerful is Bonus Boss Baal? He's a Demon Lord; he's a Supreme Demon Overlord; who instantly reincarnates upon defeat; actually he's as old as the universe, and takes a new body every time he loses, he can have more than one body at a time. The damage cap has been shown to be over 1.1 Quadrillion. Technically, both of them simply stop attacking. so there is no confirmation of attack cap.
In the third game, there is absolutely no cap to stats. Videos feature damage so big, it goes off the scale - last digits don't fit on the screen.
Final Fantasy started off with 3-digit HP totals party members and bosses with 4-HP digit totals. Final Fantasy II upped it to 4-digit party members and 5-digit HP bosses. Final Fantasy V introduced the ability to attack eight times a turn. Final Fantasy VI took the same ability and made it compatible with Quick, allowing sixteen attacks a turn. Final Fantasy VII, certain Limit Breaks allow fifteen attacks at once, eighteen attacks at once, etc. Then came Final Fantasy VIII, where Squall's Lion Heart can do over two-hundred and fifty thousand damage in one attack, making it one of the most powerful moves in the entire series! Since VIII, most game have incorporated the ability to break the 4-digit damage limit in some fashion. Then came Final Fantasy X: in the PAL release, Anima's attack hits 16 times, and every attack can break the damage limit and do 99,999 damage. That adds up to a damage cap just under 1,600,000!. Then trumped in Final Fantasy XIII where the damage cap with a Genji glove is 999,999. Not currently sure if anyone has managed to hit it yet.
Also, how ridiculous can the optional superbosses get? I started it off with the Boss in Mook Clothing Warmech, who did obscene damage but abided by the 4-digit HP max of bosses in the game. V had Omega and Shinryu, who were even more devastating and had 5-digit HP totals higher then anything else in the game. VII had Ruby and Emerald Weapon who were more deadly still and have 800,000 and 1,000,000 HP respectively (each over ten times that of the final boss). VIII featured Omega Weapon who had over a million HP and attacks that were virtually unsurvivable unless you used items or abilities that made you temporarily invincible. In IX Ozma was seemingly a step back with only a 5-digit HP total but made up for it by having damage dealing abilities on par with its predecessors and being faster than seemingly all of them put together. X had a whole arena of bonus bosses, many with HP totals higher than Omega Weapon, but the strongest was Nemesis, who had ten million HP but even he was weaker then non-arena superboss Penance who had twelve million HP a well as independantly acting arms each with half a million. XII was even worse with Yiazmat who has over fifty million HP, can trick you into restoring all of it, doubles its stats and halves the damage cap of damage dealt to it when it nears death, and can combo for over a hundred thousand HP. XIII was seemingly a step back, with the superboss having 15 million HP, but considering the damage cap being higher, they had to raise it's strength through the roof.
Without a doubt, the most insane opponents in the franchise yet have to be those found in XI; Pandemonium Warden actually morphs into a number of the game's other high-end notorious monsters, was so overpowered it beat a group after a marathon fight that lasted over eighteen hours and was eventually nerfed until it could be semi-reasonably defeated. However, the same can't be said of Absolute Virtue, who has nearly every job's 2-hour ability at its disposal but can seemingly use them without any sort of time restriction and has been updated so that any past method used to defeat it doesn't work anymore and has yet to be beaten by anyone in its current state. Additionally, estimating HP totals for Absolute Virtue is moot as one of its 2-hour abilities allow it to restore all of it, which it can use as often as it wants and no one yet knows how to negate it.
Thanks to an increased level cap and a trick that prevents AV's 2-hour abilities from being used more than once, it is nowadays somewhat beatable.
The various special attacks within a single Final Fantasy game can also display this. For example, in Final Fantasy VII, the summons start out as humongous monsters that attack enemies with huge blasts of energy, and just keep getting more extreme from there. And at the culmination of the development of attacks, one of the final boss's attacks has such exaggerated special effects that it apparently destroys the whole of our solar system each time it's used (even though this game isn't even set on Earth).
Ratchet & Clank: Think we can't make the BFGs any bigger? Think we can't make the weapons any stranger? Oh, how wrong you are.
Scribblenauts: The game does indeed allow you to summon any noun in the dictionary, and then some. Wanna see God armed with a shotgun duke it out with Cthulhu to the death? You got it! Want to defeat a Giant Enemy Crab with a rocket launcher? Your wish is Scribblenauts' command! Want to defeat an army of zombie robots by traveling back in time and recruiting a dinosaur to ride into battle? No easier said than done! There is a reason this game was a breakaway hit at E3.
How can the sequel possibly push it a level higher? By adding adjectives. Robot skateboarding Elvis, here we come!
The one-man war against a thousand Heartless. Complete with kill counter!
How hardcore can we make Mickey flippin' Mouse?
How much more Mind Screw can this Kudzu Plot possess? How many more incarnations of Xehanort can there be? Ladies and gentlemen, Kingdom Hearts 3D has topped every other entry in the series in this regard. Now we're introduced to a time traveling young Xehanort, and the true purpose of Organization XIII. Master Xehanort's previous incarnations are alive somehow, including Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness, and Xemnas, and now we have young Xehanort. Organization XIII's true purpose is to serve as vessels for Xehanort and he can pull a Grand Theft Me on them all.
Arika has escalated the difficulty of Tetris in its Tetris: The Grand Master series of arcade games released in Japan. Each game itself also escalates well past the mechanic in ordinary Tetris where the pieces fall faster and faster.
In Tetris The Grand Master, halfway through the game, at level 500note "levels" meaning "pieces dropped + lines cleared" (about 150 lines), the blocks fall to the floor immediately as they enter, and the player needs to slide each piece into place within a half second. This is called "20G" and has since become common in Tetris products.
Tetris The Absolute The Grand Master 2 PLUS: By level 900 (~270 lines), the time to slide each piece into place decreases to not much more than a quarter second. At level 999 (~300 lines), the lights turn off. The player can see only the active piece, which disappears as soon as it locks into place, and has to play for a whole minute by memory and feel. Even this player can't do it.
Tetris The Grand Master 3: Terror-Instinct: The sliding times decrease even faster. And once the lights turn off, the player has to make ten four-line clears. And then the same player has to max the grade on seven consecutive credits on a machine in order to unlock the best ending. You have to be really Belgium dedicated to pull that off.
The fan game NullpoMino has a mode named "Phantom Mania" which further escalates the TGM series' invisible Tetris concept. The mode allows you to play in invisible mode for not just one minute, but rather, 999 levels. One of the best TGM players in the world can only complete 30% of it. It is, however, good training for TGM2 and 3's invisible credit rolls; one player who plays this mode a lot ended up going from M rank in TGM2+ 's Master mode to GM within 48 hours. Many other players with M rank have been stuck at M for over a year. Lockjaw has two invisible modes: one that hides the blocks in the well as in TGM and NullpoMino, and another that hides only the falling piece. The latter is intended to teach proper "finesse", or the most efficient sequences of keypresses to place a piece in any given position.
Thrust: So you guided a heavy inertia-bound object out of all those tunnels without the gun-turrets, or unforgiving gravity and inertia killing you? Can you do it with reversed gravity? Can you do it with invisible tunnel walls? How about both?
How bizarre can we make the bosses? A fourth-wall breaking telepath, a bisexual flamenco-dancing vampire, the former President of the U.S. in a tentacled battle-suit. A 100-year old plant-man sniper, I'm covered in bees!, said fourth-wall breaking psychic back from the dead and possessing the body of a female cannibal puppeteer dependent on her Power Armor to live, a sapient helicopter who uses a railgun like a sword and shoots smaller helicopters and is also a Vocaloid...
How utterly, ridiculously complex can we make the plot with this next random plot twist? And how many plot twists can we have in one hour? (Thirteen.)
For Metal Gear Solid 4: How much more pain can we put Snake through? Wracked with coughs, sick with incurable diseases, hey, let's turn him into a genocidal epidemic-making machine, burn half his face off, shower him with microwaves...
How much gayer can the male cast get? Quite a bit, actually. It never seems to put a damper on their manliness.
How many more humanly impossible feats of battle prowess do we need before the fanbase stops believing that Raiden is an effeminate pansy?
How much weight can we have Big Boss bench? How about the majority of a hundred-foot-tall, two-hundred-foot-long tank made of guns?
Plenty of Nintendo Hard games, do this, but Battletoads may be the best example. While playing through any given level (except for maybe the first two), players are likely to wonder how the game will possibly get any harder. Next level, they get their answer.
Finishing the game by yourself is considered an achievement. Taken Up to Eleven by these two guys who actually finished the game in TWO PLAYERS MODE. No cheats (not that it'll help), no assists, on a classic NES. They used a PAL cartridge which fixed a Game-Breaking Bug, if you wanted to know.
I Wanna Be the Guy: How many times will The Kid die before he'll become The Guy? How many more spikes can fit into a single screen? How many more applesgiant cherries delicious fruit will fall into the sky within the lapse of the next double-jump? How many ridiculously glitched and unfair traps stand between you and safety on the other side of the Pit of Death? How many times will the Bosses freak out and glitch-kill you like Space Marines on crack-stims? How many times will you scream and tear out your hair before you finally snap and throw your computer out the window and goes to cry like a little girl in the corner of the room? How many times can one curse the name of the game's creator before realizing it is in vain?
Let's put it this way: even counting all difficulties, the running list of players who've finished is still only in the mid hundreds. The game has been played by many thousands. When someone says "I beat it", people are awed by it.
And when someone beat it on Impossible, the game's creator didn't believe them. Only two people in the world have provided proof that they accomplished this feat.
The 1992 arcade game Total Carnage. How many enemies can the game throw at you? How many power ups and point bonuses can it cram into the screen? How many armored military vehicles can you blow up like they're made of gasoline? How many parts of the first boss can you blow off? How utterly absurd can the final boss be? And perhaps most importantly, how angry will you get when you realize that even if you collect everything within your power chances are you won't collect enough and the game will mock you for it?
Its name is quite apt.
Sin and Punishment for the N64 does this quite often, primarily in the amount of complete, chaotic confusion it induces. It starts off alright enough, with you fighting soldiers and mutant animals. This leads to a situation where you ride on the top of the elevator while a huge torrent of horseshoe crabs come cascading down on you whilst you are under attack by a giant laser moth. Then at the end of the stage Tokyo inexplicably gets covered by a sea of blood that comes out of nowhere, you mutate into an Evangelion-esque giant thing, and it all goes directly to hell, getting progressively more and more difficult, chaotic, and above all, baffling with each passing moment/cutscene/level, before finally climaxing with you standing on top of Earth and fighting an ENTIRE PLANET.
Not just a planet. One of the former members of Le Resistance transformed into CLONE EARTH.
Katamari Damacy: Just how big can that ball of stuff get? Big enough to roll up a person? A cow? A giant octopus? The entire solar system? A supermassive black hole? Or how about quantity...say, a million roses?
The Need for Speed series from Underground to Carbon. How cool can we make our rides? How many Cool Cars can we put in the game? How fast and furious can our races become? The answer to these questions is: Porsches, Lamborghinis and McLarens with custom paint jobs, tuning side skirts, spoilers the size of an Antonov wing, all of them capable of going beyond 400 km/h.
Invoked with the new Hot Pursuit: Now, you can change said Porsches, Lamborghinis, and McLarens into cop cars and use them to chase down OTHER Porsches, Lamborghinis, and McLarens. There's even a cop Bugatti Veyron featured!
Ancient Keeper (the unofficial expansion to Dungeon Keeper): While there are levels that are just very difficult battles, your very first fight would be considered impossible by the average winner of the original game. It gets worse from there. The expansion takes advantage of every subtlety the authors could find in the game physics, creature AI, and keeper AI.
Guitar Hero. Witness the escalation from "Bark At the Moon" to "Jordan" to "Through the Fire and Flames" to "Satch Boogie" in the epic series of bonus songs. Note that Bark At the Moon is neither a bonus song nor nearly as hard as the other songs in the list, and technically there are no bonus songs in Guitar Hero World Tour, so Satch Boogie isn't a true bonus song, and it also isn't quite as tough.
Well, depending on your definition of what a "bonus song" is. Since Satch Boogie only appears in non-required gigs in Career mode (and you have to pay to perform at them), some say it counts. Regardless, "Pull Me Under" (which isn't too terribly hard) IS a bonus song for Guitar Hero World Tour in that it is ONLY unlocked by beating any career mode (you do not, however, have to do the extra gig "Sunni's Chariot" to unlock it, just playing it at the credits is enough). Yes, you HAVE to do it that way, because the quickplay songs cheat doesn't unlock it. It is worth every bit of effort, though.
Ace Attorney: How epic can we make the court system? How over the top can we make the prosecutor? How about the witnesses? Can we make the murder plan even more convoluted? How insane can we make a Villainous Breakdown without simply have the person exploding?
If you argue that Trilo (a ventriloquist's puppet) is a person in his own right, he actually does explode. A few times. Godot's visor also explodes from nothing but your logic. Not "exploding" per se, but, In Investigations, Ambassador Alba loses pieces of his face. Several times.
One breakdown in particular may be MORE spectacular than exploding: Dahlia Hawthorne is sent to hell. Yes, she's a ghost at the time, but still, she was sent to hell.
Investigations 2s final boss is Crazy Awesome. The one who's been pulling the strings behind the game? The animal-taming clown at the local circus who you defended earlier. The location of the final battle? The circus itself. Oh, and the Villainous Breakdown? SAID ANIMAL-TAMING CLOWN AT THE CIRCUS GOES INTO A CALM Motive Rant, AND THEN HIS ANIMAL FRIENDS TURN ON HIM AND BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF HIM. HE GETS PUNCHED BY A FREAKING BEAR/LION/THING.' That's not even mentioning the otherVillainous Breakdowns...
Ghost Trick: Just how many more insane plot twists can be fit into the game before it ends? How many times will Lynne manage to die and still get revived? What new ridiculously convoluted Rube Goldberg Contraption will Sissel use to save someone's life next? The plot twists are so crazy that finding out that a crazy painter prisoner is randomly painting a picture of you when not a single person has a clue who you are, and that your lovable sidekick is the one who shot you are the first things you find out as you play the game. Later on you stage a prison break, discover that a supposed hostage situation is bungled by the mistaken kidnapping of a seemingly innocuous girl living with Lynne, a manipulator has ghost powers that call the actions of every character into question as he has the power to manipulate people, the little seemingly minor dog character now also has ghost powers, which everyone gets from a meteor. The painter reveals he saw you die ten years ago despite you also dying tonight, in an event where Lynne nearly died and basically ties together the backstories of every character in the game, the manipulator looks just like you, the seemingly corrupt inspector was actually a hatching a Batman Gambit to prove the painter's innocence, the mysterious bad guys have actually been on a submarine the entire time. The wacky pigeon man was helping the inspector all along. Then you go back in time ten years to stop the game from happening. There you find out you've actually been playing as the antagonist's pet cat the entire time, who accidentally shot you in an attempt to frame Lynne. Oh, and to top it all off, that cute little puppy dog? He masterminded the entire game and outwitted everyone. But he's from an alternate timeline where Sissel was such a Jerk Ass he refused to help anyone.
Additionally, all but ONE SP Black Another charts have gotten trumped by the same Another chart - The 2DX Empress One More Extra Stage Himiko, with 2119 notes in SP mode and 2194 notes on DP mode (which typically has FEWER notes than SP). To put the difficulty of this chart into perspective, the person clearing that chart has Full-Combo'd Icarus on Another, and the clear rate (due to HARD being forced on) is somewhere around 6% of all people that actually reach it. Considering the requirements to get this specific song (via normal mode, at least), a more accurate clear rate (out of all players) would be 0.035%.
Sam & Max: What insane thing can the duo try to stop that people should normally not even consider toppling? The Mob? The Presidency? The internet? Hell? What is the most insane way we can stop them? And how much more money can Bosco ask for?
MadWorld: Just how much blood can a single human spill? How many unique ways can Jack hilariously murder someone? How vulgar can the announcers get?
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: How much more EXTREME can the uses of the Force get? How much more severely can you overkill the next enemy? How much more severely can you kill the next group of enemies? What's the largest group of enemies you can overkill severely before you feel even an iota of remorse?
Oh, but it is further in the sequel novelisation. HE TELEKINETICALLY BLOWS UP A CRUISER.
The doujin Bullet Hell shooter Hellsinker really illustrates this trope starting with Segment 5: You have to navigate your way through a labyrinth lined with guns while weird Magitek things fly through the walls to attack you, then fight an absolutely incredible boss with many forms of attack that summons various bizarre machines to attack you, then summons the final boss of the creator's previous game, Radiozonde, to fight you, then when you finally beat all of that back and whittle its armor down to zero, FATE CONTROL TERRA++ and it's freaking immortal and you have to time it out to win. This would easily qualify as the Final Boss of any other shooter, but it's just the halfway point, and it only gets more insane from there.
Yukari Yakumo. All Touhou games have a LunaticDifficulty. All Touhou games have an Extra Stage. Yukari resides on Perfect Cherry Blossom's Phantasm Stage, which is to the Extra stage what Lunatic difficulty is to Normal difficulty.
Given that s/he's now set to face trial for the deaths of 300,000 batarians, s/he can get screwed a lot more.
To get an idea of how troperiffic the Mass Effect series is, consider this: the series' page had to be split into three - one for the series in general, one for the first game, and one for the second game - because it had so many characters it was making the wiki crash. Then, the series' main page was split into nine pages - three for the three Expanded Universe novels and six for the tropes - and the second game's page was split into four pages in order to handle all the tropes. Not only does this not take into account the various sub-pages, such as the Moment of Awesome, Funny, Heartwarming and THREECharacterpages, but the series isn't done yet. It's got a grand total of six pieces of media - three of which have nothing more than their own page and one that isn't even released yet - and the series has OVER THIRTY PAGES.
Given gameplay escalation in how big the enemies you are expected to kill on foot with a rifle are getting, are they going to throw two Geth Colossi at Shepard in ME3? Three Thresher Maws? A completed Reaper? Answer: REAPER VERSUS COLOSSAL THRESHER MAW!
How much angrier can fans get over the ending? We've already gotten tons of petitions with huge numbers of signatures, a massive donation drive to Child's Play in an attempt to show support for new endings, and one guy even going to the FTC, claiming false advertising.
In Giga Wing, a score of one million points is nothing—the best scores have 14 digits. And then in Giga Wing 2, 14-digit scores become crappy scores—you'll be having as many as 17 digits by the end of a single-credit run. And finally, in Giga Wing Generations, you might as well express your approximate scores in scientific notation: they can be as many as twenty digits long!
"Umineko no Naku Koro ni". How badass can Battler get? Badass enough to solve the mystery of Rokkenjima and then totally bring Erika to tears by rubbing it in her face and completely tearing apart her pro-mystery solution. How cruelly can Beatrice kill people? Try slicing open their bodies and stuffing candy into their stomachs, then arranging them around a Halloween feast. And let the innards ooze onto the carpet and mix with the jam that also spilled out of their stomach. How many new magical characters will get introduced to make Battler reconsider his anti-fantasy approach? He hasn't yet. But there's a whole lot of them, take my word for it. How convoluted can the mystery get? How bizarre can the magic scenes become? How awesome can the music be?
Asks you how Game Breaking the superfighters can get. We've had at least two with special weapons that can one-shot entire missions, and one wonders how to go up from there. To put things into perspective, the superfighter from 2, the XFA-27, is merely a mid-tier plane in X.
It gets even more over the top in X than merely having superfighters. Not only do you get access to a huge array of superplanes, you can tune them to your desired performance with parts! That already Game Breaker superplane? Dialed up to eleven. Proper tuning turns the aforementioned XFA-27 from a "mid-tier" plane to one of the very best aircraft in the game.
What new leader of legions of undead or demons or Old Gods can we kill today? How big can we make the dragons?
How big can we make the weapons they drop? How big can we make the shoulders they drop? How many spikes can we put on said shoulders? How many mobs will the player mow down at the controls of a supercharged vehicle in a single quest? (200 in the first expansion to have such quests,, 1000 in the next.) How much gold can we charge for one item? How awesome/crazy looking can we make the next mount? What will those crazy gnomes/goblins invent next?
This happened with skimpy female armor, but stopped rather early on. The game is rated T by the ESRB, so there's a bit of a hard line.
How much worse can Azeroth get? It has been invaded by Orcs, the Scourge, the Burning Legion almost got a foothold, the evil gods buried by the Titans have been resurfacing, and the Cataclysm expansion lives up to its name by changing radically many areas of the old game world.
The fandom often joke about bosses and instanced dungeons that are brought back for later content. It started when the Sunwell event brought back Kael'Thas Sunstrider saying "Tempest Keep was merely a setback!". Wrath of the Lich King resurrected Kel'Thuzad and the entire raid dungeon of Naxxramas, and in Icercrown Citadel, all three of the Blood Princes from previous dungeons returned for a single raid encounter. (And one of them did the "merely a setback" line). Cataclysm and later patches renovated and upgraded no fewer than 4 dungeons. An April's Fool joke from the game developers talked of doing the same to dungeons not yet added to the game.
One of the Lich King's agents, the Black Knight, takes it still further - after being killed once as a human, he is brought back as a rotting zombie with additional power up. After you kill him in this form, he stands back up as a bare skeleton. And after that he immediately comes back as a ghost. The reference should be obvious.
This was actually discussed regarding the ever increasing levels of player health and damage output, and how to control it. The whole thing was accompanied with this epic picture◊ of what could be.
For the 4th game's Dante Must Die mode, we have a boss fight you can't win without either ridiculous levels of skill and luck, or a ton of healing items and at least one resurrection. After that, there's a silly joke mode, where everything, including you, dies in one hit. What's that you say? A mode where all the enemies are on normal difficulty, but you still die in one hit, so you cannot even get past the first level unless you're skilled beyond reason? Perfect.
Pffh. DMC 4 was a breeze compared to DMC 3, even on Hell and Hell mode. With the enemies' skill level bumped down to "Normal" and 3 revives per checkpoint, any decently skilled DMC player can win without much hassle. The Dante boss fight can be problematic if you don't know how to counter him properly; otherwise, it's a cinch. DMC 3 Dante Must Die on the other hand...picture this scenario. You're on a giant chessboard, fighting 16 chess pieces. Killing the King kills the other 15 pieces, similar to checkmate on an ordinary chess game. Problem is, the Bishops can heal pieces (usually the King) and the Knights can summon other pieces, making the fight a non-stop, clusterfuck uphill battle. On Very Hard, it's a challenge to destroy the King. On Dante Must Die, with the blue aura surrounding the King and the other pieces (which significantly increases their defense and vitality), it's absolute hell. And that's the first fight of level 18. THEN you have to fight at least SIX other bosses you fought earlier in the game, CONTINUOUSLY. And now, the voice you're hearing is you, screaming.
The Super Mario Bros. games: how much more ridiculous can Bowser's plans to kidnap Peach get? Currently topped with New Super Mario Bros Wii, which has Bowser Jr. and a bunch of his Koopa Troopas the Koopalings hide out in a cake. They then stuff Princess Peach into the cake and take onboard one of Bowser's airships. Holy shit.
Super Mario Galaxy: It's just a battle between a plumber and a big turtle. How epic can they get this to be? Try having the final showdown set in the center of a sun that's in the center of the goddamn universe. Then punching said giant turtle into the magma of said sun, causing it to explode into a black hole that temporarily sucks in all existence. Good lord.
The Sands of Time: How many death-defying leaps will you make in the next few minutes? How many times will you run along a wall? How high can the next Wall Jump shaft get? How many times will the Prince talk to himself? How many times will he mention it? How many insane acrobatic moves can you cram into the next fight?
In the reboot: What immensely tall, vertical cliff will you slide down next? How long will you be beating up an enemy in mid-air? How long can you go without touching the ground? How much will the Prince snark in the next few minutes? Which snarks will stink and which will be funny?
Made to be a distillation of this trope. To put things into perspective, the very, very first taste of gameplay, before even the prologue, consists of a battle against an army of angels on a broken clock tower. A broken clock tower currently falling down the side of an enormous cliff. And it only ramps up from there. By the climax, the Holy Shit Quotient climbs every ten seconds or so, as you pull off more and more increasingly insane stunts, including but not limited to:
Surfing the middle of a street on a river of molten lava using a dead angel as a surfboard.
Shooting your monster of a father in the face. With lipstick.
Escaping the Earth's atmosphere by driving up the side of a titanic rocket with a motorcycle.
Crytek keeps doing this with their games' graphics. First came Far Cry, which could only be maxed out by a perfectly top-of-the-line rig, and even now is beyond many stock computers. Then Crysis, which was designed so that it couldn't be run on max on any existing computer. It literally couldn't be run on anything that existed. Currently, it can be done, but it needs seriously powerful components. Surprisingly, Crysis 2 was actually pretty reasonable on launch due to being optimised for Consoles. Then they released the DX 11 & Hi-Rez Texture Pack for the PC version and unless you've got at least a pair of cutting edge graphics cards, you'll be playing a slideshow.
The Dynasty Warriors series has finally achieved a critical mass of insanity in Strikeforce, where historical Chinese figures can basically go nuclear and achieve Super Saiyan status.
Left 4 Dead 2. Expert difficulty, which does tons of damage to you and you can die quickly? No problem. Realism mode, where you can't respawn, don't have auras to track each other, and have Witches kill you in one hit? Fair enough. Now combine the two. Good luck in getting that achievement.
Recently the ante has been upped with Realism Versus.
Some of the other mutations have also gone past the impossible. Up to 4 special infected trying to attack the team at once? Try eight special infected at the same time, which can include doubles of the same type (Hard Eight)!
Thought that was hard? How about the newest mutation (Taaannnnkk!), in wich all special infected are tanks, and you only have pills to refill your health!
And if military achievements aren't enough, you need only look towards the construction projects that players have made. When a fortress isn't enough, you build a statue of your king. When that isn't enough, you have it pour an endless mug of lava into a volcano in honor of the fallen◊. When that isn't enough, you remove the "into a volcano" part and turn it into a weapon of mass destruction. When that isn't enough, you build a Turing-complete computer that's operated with hand-pumps and water pressure.
And that's merely the players' achievements. The developer (one guy, with a little help from his brother) is constantly pushing the game's "fantasy world simulation" elements. 2010's big update - among many other things - changed the combat system to determine damage to individual tissue layers, gave eyelids the function of removing grime from eyeballs (in such a way that an entity who loses an eyelid in battle will have to manually clean his own eyes), and created a random disease/poison generator that can result in an Eldritch Abomination whose breath causes your eyes to melt out of their sockets. And the randomly-generated world is constantly becoming more detailed, already generating a rich history of wars, heroic battles against legendary monsters and Forgotten Beasts, and religious worship of Gods and Demons - all of which have a visible, if minor, impact on actual gameplay.
The cruelty of the players was mentioned above. Let us discuss that. Nobles were pretty annoying, especially in the early days. Nobles thus found themselves the victims of quite a few Unfortunate Accidents. And of course, there were the colloseums, wherein captured enemies (Or anyone the player was annoyed with) was forced to fight basically any horrible thing that could concievably be captured, as well as a few things that couldn't. Then there was Boatmurdered, where basically the entire non-fortress part of the map was set up to be flooded with lava. Later players in the game forgot which lever did that. These are all topped by the player who decided, upon realizing that merfolk bones were worth a fortune, decided to capture and breed merfolk for their bones. The attrocities being planned by players at the time of this post no doubt top that.
The heroes of the Mountainhomes tend to follow this pattern. Some individual dwarf does something fairly awesome. The player then takes a shine to them and they keep succeeding against all odds. Captain Ironblood survived in a nightmarish hellhole, where the land was frozen over and constantly roamed by the deadly skeletal elks. He didn't survive by being a coward, and started single handedly finishing off any non-Hidden Fun Stuff monsters. Being unsatisfied with the amount of damage he could do at a time with merely a single axe, he took up artillery as a hobby, because it allowed him to kill more things faster. Even his odor approached this, as he apparently never bathed, meaning towards the end that every single part of him was caked in blood and dirt, and most parts of him were covered in anything else that could stick to a dwarfs body, including vomit.
God of War 2. Now, its predecessor was already plenty epic, but here you get to climb up a magically animated Colossus of Rhodes, smash it to bits inside and out, then go mano-a-mano with frigging Zeus himself. All of this in the first level. It goes beyonder and beyonder from then on.
God Of War 3 goes even further. The first boss fight is frikken Poseidon who takes the form of a massive water/horse/thing while you are riding Gaia. After cracking open the chest of Poseidon you are thrown into it and come out the other side with a human sized Poseidon and then you get to beat the shit out of him from his perspective. And when he finally dies a tsunami erupts from his corpse and drowns everything but Olympus.
The Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels even point at this. In the first game, they're Mortal, Hero, Spartan, and finally God. In the second and third games though, each title gets bumped down to the next level, with III culminating in Spartan, God, Titan and Chaos.
Trauma Center and Trauma Team. How much more insane can the diseases get? How many more bizarre supernatural powers can surgeons have? What about the other characters? A ninja endoscopist? A superhero orthopedist? A first-response agent who can see ghosts?
Destructo-Truck. There's an achievement for breaking the speed of sound. In a truck. There's a JATO rocket upgrade right out of the Darwin Awards, and that's not even the most excessive option - the next one, twin F16 afterburners is described as "stupidly powerful".
Now there's a sequel on the way. Thus far, we've seen the new protagonist turn living, screaming people into tentacle-y grenades; supplex a tank; uppercut a helicopter; and rip multiple soldiers to shreds at once using sticky, springy tendrils that cross entire streets and fling cars around. His mission is to fight Alex Mercer. The code is in Alpha. It can only get more insane.
Rock Band 3. Let's start with the 25-key keyboardkeytar controller, throw in a new option that requires you to actually play the real part, and end with a 6-string 17-fret midi guitar controller developed specifically for the game.
Rock Band 1 (although derided for being easy in comparison to Guitar Hero 3) had Green Grass & High Tides, which took 2 years and change for a guitarist to FC.
And the pro final songs on disc for Rock Band 3 were Roundabout (Keys) and Crazy Train/Freebird (Guitar). Trumped somewhat later when they released Pro Guitar Dragonforce.
Mamono Sweeper. It starts out easy, then harder with larger boards like the original Minesweeper, then proceeds to the extreme mode, which has more "mines" per area, then blind mode which plays exactly like the actual minesweeper, i.e. touch the mine and killed. The hardness does not end here. The extreme and blind modes are then combined into the hugemode. Who knows if more harder modes are out?
The ridiculous number of trophies, stickers, stages, and characters can take an eternity to locate, particularly the former two. It's doubtful whether or not it's even possible to get that coveted 100% Completion.
The entirety of the Adventure mode. It's not even a mode so much as an ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT GAME, complete with bosses, cutscenes, plot twists, incredibly difficult platforming segments... the list goes on and on...
The items. You could spend forever trying to find item combos and such, but the arsenal itself is over-the-top crazy.
The Masterpieces. They included playable demos of many of the characters' most famous games. Really more of an advertisement for the Virtual Console, but still... wow.
Ditto on the Tiberian series. How much more contaminated can the world get? How much longer is the devs gonna tease the playerbase about Kane's origins? How much more advanced can the brotherhood be? How many more ways can tiberium screw over the planet? How much more incompetent is GDI? It's even more ironic considering every single game ends on a hopeful note for the good guys, only to have everything go to shit even worse in the next one.
Alien Swarm got an update that makes the game much harder than it already was. Many people complained that Insane difficulty wasn't hard enough! What did Valve do? Added Brutal difficulty, which is so hard that none of the developers could finish a mission! Oh, is that not hard enough? Now try it with Hardcore Friendly Fire enabled, where all friendly fire does full damage to players! And yes, there's already and achievement for beating a mission on Brutal with hardcore friendly fire turned on.
Irisu Syndrome: Exactly how fucked up is the plot? How insane can Irisu and Uuji get? How many minor details can the author scare us with? Until Kai comes out, we may never know...
.hack//G.U.: How many times, throughout the series, do the epitaph users "give their powers" to Haseo? By the end of the game, there really was no place to go, as Haseo had already absorbed the power of the eight epitaphs about three or four times before the ultimately final fight.
Also, how many times can Kite (or a lookalike) appear in the series, even though (as stated in the LotT manga) his character model was made unavailable for regular use?
And how much more complicated can the story get? Starts with people being unable to log out, then mentally stuck in the game yet able to play, then mentally stuck while being unable to act, and then being physically stuck in the game, creating thus an alternate time-line that makes a previously uncanon title become part of the main story.
Also, starts with an AI that absorbs players feelings to create the ultimate AI (and creates failed yet fully self-aware AI in the way) but goes out of control trying to delete said ultimate AI, and then said ultimate AI starts playing God, and then she disappears, leaving room for a symbiotic AI that causes people to feel pain inside the game, and then later one of said symbiotic AI turns into one of the good guys.
Muramasa The Demon Blade has a chapter where the Jinkuro-posessed Momohime storms the gates of Hell to get the sword he needs for the Soul Transfer. When it's revealed that the sword isn't in Hell, Jinkuro decides on the spot to storm the gates of Heaven instead and battle the gods to change his fate!
Resonance of Fate has the most impossible gun maneuvers ever. The characters can hover in mid air firing their guns, and they can literally leap across the entire battlefield. Not to mention Vashyron has a maneuver where he jumps, bounces off of his back and flips back up, all while firing his gun.
Is it even possible for a single YouTube video to have 69 honors at once?
On the subject of Professor Layton... how much more bizarre can the plot twists get? How much more badass can a gentlemanly archaeology professor be? How many puzzles can we cram into the game before the whole thing becomes nothing but a sequence of Big Lipped Alligator Moments?
If you don't do something Crazy Awesome during the TUTORIAL of Just Cause 2, you're doing it wrong. Once that's done, you can blow up enough stuff to have the military send a dozen jeeps, several helicopters, and a tank after you. You can have a carsurfing gunfight during the chase. You can attach anything to anything else - like a speeding car to the road in front of the car, or a bad guy to a fighter plane. Using your grappling hook, you can hijack numerous helicopters without touching the ground. You can planesurf. And during the finale, you can surf nuclear missilesand disarm them while fighting a midget dictator.
Split Second: How many more things can you blow up in a single race? How big can the objects involved be? Jumbo jets? Cruise ships? Nuclear reactor cooling towers? An entire dam? How fast can you drive while dodging a helicopter's missiles? How close behind the truck dropping Exploding Barrels can you drive?
Asura'sWrath That planet sized buddha? Its one of the weakest and presumably, earliest bosses in the Whole Game! Looks like Bayonetta has some competition in this department, now.
It topped itself again. By fighting with Asura's Old Master Augus on the moon and getting plunged back to earth by usage of one of the biggest swords in video game history. The game trailers show so far this trope is definately in full play, and how!
Said BFS Augus has is 380,000 KILOMETERS in length.
Just for the record. The first episode ends after asura single handedly takes down an entity that's the size of a large continent, coming out of the planet itself, IN. THE. FIRST. EPISODE! And it just gets more insane with every boss from there on out.
It all culminates with the final fight against Chakravartin in Part IV: Nirvana. His giant form is many many times bigger than any other character in the game, to the point while even being out of the solar system he's still visible from the planet earth, he can casually fire really strong, really fast laser beams that goes across the solar system at several times faster than light, Throws entire planets and even STARS at you, and even tries to make the sun go super nova JUST TO TRY AND KILL YOU! The real kicker? That's only the first half of the fight against him, and he's not even trying or using his strongest form.
Can Splinter Cell protagonist Sam Fisher get any more American!? At one point in Conviction he actually stabs a terrorist with an American Flag without missing a beat . Made all the better by the fact that the terrorist-gangster in question has several Kick the Dog moments who most players have wanted to brutalize for the entire game.
It's optional, and technically he just stabs him with the flagpole... on the other hand, the beating during which this can happen is happening inside the Washington, D.C. headquarters of Third Echelon, Fisher's former organization that actually hired on this gangster.
Wrong again. How much longer can the load times get?
How insane can we make the Shadow bosses of Persona 4? In order of appearance, Yosuke's is a frog-thing with a ninja grafted onto it's back, Chie's is a dominatrix banana-head that sits on top of a tower of schoolgirls, Yukiko's is a firy bird that can summon an evil price doll, the less said about Kanji's shadow the better, Rise's is a satellite-faced swirly-colored stripper, Teddie's is just downright frightening, and Mitsuo's is a floating baby with an eight-bit character for a shield.
What ridiculous plan are the minions of darkness going to concoct to bring DraculaBack from the Dead this time? How much hammier can the voice acting get? How much bigger can the weapons get? What new attacking system can we add this time? How much better can the soundtrack get?
Just how hard can the last boss of the Arcana Heart fighting games (as well as fighting games in general) get? Really, REALLY hard, thats how.
RuneScape. How insanely high-leveled can they make a monster? Currently, the most insane monster is Nex (level 1001). For reference, a PC can only achieve 138 (which is all combat stats at lv 99, including summoning and prayer.)
How bizarre will the next boss be? The ghost of Beethoven, a tank, a bass guitar, a pile of garbage, a living generator, a biomechanical caribou, a robot gorilla with wrecking balls for hands, an animate whirlpool...
Calamity Trigger, the first game, starts with being a rather standard fighting game, except for its overly absurd Pinball Scoring: You pick a character, go through 10 fights and have to beat an Unlimited character (essentially an SNK Boss) to win the game. But the game has a bonus boss, which is absurd even for Unlimited standard.
Then you can try going through the Score Attack mode, which pits you against all 12 playable characters in the game, all at the highest AI difficulty, with the last four bosses being Unlimited characters.
Then Continuum Shift, the sequel, adds two more characters to the roster, one of which comes with an Unlimited mode as a final boss, and thus adding them to the Score Attack mode. That means 14 characters in a row, with the last five being SNK Bosses.
Then Continuum Shift II adds even more characters, but surprisingly its Score Attack mode is reduced to fighting 10 normal characters. The reason for this is (unfortunately) simple: CS II has a second Score Attack mode named Unlimited Mars mode, where every enemy you fight is in Unlimited mode. To rephrase: that's almost a dozen characters, all of which are SNK Bosses.
Continuum Shift II Extend slows the escalation somewhat by merely adding one additional characters as well as adding more move pool to the already-broken Unlimited characters.
And a trend that's going through the entire series: How awesome will the next musical piece be?
Let's not forget about The Elder Scrolls. In Arena, your enemy was an evil sorcerer. In Daggerfall you're reviving a lost superweapon for the emperor. In Morrowind, you're tasked with killing an evil god. In Oblivion you have to defeat the Deadric Prince of Destruction and the cult following him (said cult managed to kill the emperor in the heart of the empire). In Skyrim, you have to kill the son of the most powerful god of the Divines.
who, to be noted is a giant world eating dragon
Let's look at The Binding of Isaac. How many different Final Bosses can we have? Before the Halloween Update, three. After, four. As of Wrath of the Lamb, a total of SEVEN. Mom, Mom's Heart, It Lives, The Fallen and Satan, Isaac, Triachnid, and ???. However, It Lives, ???, and Triachnid are Pallate Swaps, and Triachnid and ??? were bugged... but the bug was later fixed; Triachnid is now a regular boss, but a whole new floor was added where you could fight ???. So, six.
Egosoft, maker of the X-Universe series, loves its Scenery Porn and tops itself with each installment. Gorgeous, fully rendered backdrops, animated planets that exist as actual physical models, ships textured to the smallest polygon, etc. They go nuts with it in the latest installment, X Rebirth.
The Saints Row series, with each installment being more over-the-top than the last. The first one is rather mild, being more a Grand Theft Auto clone than anything else. The second one gets a little crazier, with you now commanding the Saints and fighting Japanese yakuza members, heavy metal monster truck fanatics, and a rasta drug cartel with possible supernatural connections, while escorting your lieutenants with helicopter gunships, running naked through the streets, and ending with an aerial assault on a skyscraper and the assassination of a prominent business mogul. The third one takes this Up to Eleven, with things like homocidal Japanese game shows, spec ops teams with energy weapons, nearly starting a zombie apocalypse, aerial aircraft carriers, and skydiving with a tank.The fourth game starts with the player as the President of the United States. Then the world gets invaded by aliens. Then you get superpowers. Things escalate from there.
Freedom Force Vs The Third Reich Your first major foe is your old enemy Nuclear Winter. Only now he has nuclear missiles. Oh, and he's giant. Then things get worse. And about halfway through the game things start escalating at an insane rate until The entire UNIVERSE is destroyed except for your squad of heroes. Fortunately they have a chance to undo it...
Cookie Clicker: You can't possibly bake more cookies. So how much more impossibly can you make them? Harvest them from cookie farms, mine them from veins of dough and chocolate ore, plunder time for every cookie that has ever been. Damn the cost, convert all anti-matter into posi-cookie!
Yoshi's Island. How many more versions of Bowser will you fight in the final battle? Baby Bowser and then his giant form? Baby Bowser, Normal Bowser and then HIS giant form? Or how about in the latest game, Baby Bowser, Giant Baby Bowser, Normal Bowser and Giant Normal Bowser all in a row?