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Deconstruction Game

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A form of Deconstruction that specifically deconstructs Video Games tropes including those relating to characters, storylines, genre or game mechanics.

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!"

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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.

They often make use of Unexpected Gameplay Change and can range in length from short flash games that exist to make a short point about the trope involved, indie projects written and coded by one or a handful of people, all the way up to high quality blockbuster AAA titles that utilise their high budgets & technology to make statements within the context of mechanical similarity to the games they are deconstructing.

Compare and contrast this with Comedy Video Games and Parody Video Games.

Compare and contrast with Trickster Game, which is a game that deceives the player on fundamental elements of the experience; deconstruction is one potential reason for a Trickster Game.

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Examples

    open/close all folders 

    General 

    Action-Adventures 

    Action Games 
  • Harvester: A deconstruction of Evil Is Cool and Video Game Cruelty Potential. However, it's not an anti-videogame tract relying on heavy-handed moralizing, but actually 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 otherwise fictional violence is moronic.
  • _iCEY._: The narrator will not so subtly hint that your whole purpose in the game is to kill the "final" boss, and that you should ALWAYS follow the floating guide arrows, and NEVER stray from the path laid out before you. In actuality, disobeying the Narrator and breaking the game flow is the only way to uncover the true ending... among other things.
  • 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." The HD remake also deconstructs the line between author and narrator, narrators themselves, and binary morality and lose-lose morality plays.
  • Pyst was meant to be a deconstruction of Myst by showing the game's world to have degenerated into a glorified tourist attraction, but that didn't completely pan out due to it being more of a half-hearted Shallow Parody.
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    Fighting Games 
  • Bushido Blade deconstructs the weaponized fighting game genre: there are no life bars, weapons are wielded realistically, attacks can cripple your opponent, and it only takes one good hit to win a fight. In other words, a realistic take on swords and other weapons in combat. And unsurprisingly, characters bringing guns to a sword fight will be the hardest to face.
  • Divekick deconstructs the mechanics of a fighting game, by simplifying it to just two buttons: one to jump, and other to divekick.
  • M.U.G.E.N, the customizable fighting engine by Elecbyte, can be seen as a deconstruction of crossover fighting games, as well as games with Guest Characters, as you can see the far more realistic consequences of having characters in your roster with widely different rules and gameplay. Gaze in awe as characters from games with the simpler mechanics note  are mercilessly demolished by characters from fast-paced, combo-oriented games note , or games with more complex mechanics note . And don't even get us started on Saitama.
    • It can also be counted as a Decon-Recon Switch thanks to the customizability of the engine, it is possible to edit the files and states of your characters, weaken the overpowering ones and buff the weaker ones for a proper balancing.

    First-Person Shooters 

    Interactive Fiction 

    Platform Games 

    Role-Playing Game 

    Shoot 'em Ups 
  • 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.
  • Tyrian also deconstruct the concept of One-Man Army in a different way. The protagonist, Trent, is supposedly just an escapee that witnessed a corrupt Mega-Corp killing his friend and said Mega-Corp, Microsol, decided He Knows Too Much. Trent then made contact with Microsol's enemy, Gencore, and singlehandedly won a lot of decisive victories. Later it turns out that Gencore's head is a Corrupt Corporate Executive that, after four episodes worth of missions, decided to exploit the protagonist's One-Man Army credentials further to cut costs of sending an entire battle fleet. Trent naturally got sick of this and went MIA after tying up the loose ends against Microsol.

    Simulation Games 
  • Desert Bus from Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors deconstructs Misaimed "Realism". The game's mechanics are so "realistic" 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.
  • Oiligarchy does this to the notion of the Golden Ending. As per Word of God, playing optimally, like a hardcore gamer would, gets you the worst ending, Mutually Assured Destruction, since you are the Villain Protagonist after all. The happy ending has the world transition to a cleaner, more sustainable society, but that's your losing condition where you are rendered obsolete and are forced to retire. The other endings are getting fired for not expanding oil production enough, and an unintentional case of Earn Your Bad Ending where the Western nations' economy collapses.
  • Viscera Cleanup Detail may itself be a cleaning simulator, but it deconstructs ego-shooters like Doom as so ridiculously bloody and brutal that it would indeed be a different, but also difficult task to clean up after such a whirlwind of carnage.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Sequels with suspiciously similar premises to the original, linearity and the illusion of choice in video games, and the concept of video games as a power fantasy, among many other things.
  • The original Manhunt deconstructs and satirizes the conventional relationship between the player and the player character in violent video games. The protagonist James Earl Cash is being controlled from the outset by Starkweather, a weird, creepy guy sitting in a dark room in front of a computer screen, who watches him through cameras and urges him to commit unspeakably horrific acts. It's pretty obvious who Starkweather is meant to represent. And why does Starkweather urge Cash to carry out these shockingly violent murders? Because he's making a Snuff Film to sate the sick desires of people who find brutal violence entertaining (not to mention sexually arousing) — a camp that, going by his own creepy comments over the course of the game, he himself is part of.

    Survival Horrors 
  • 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.

    Third-Person Shooters 
  • Both of the Kane & Lynch games are surprisingly subtle deconstructions of crime-themed action games. Both deliberately avoid glorifying violence, and instead goes out of its way to portray realistic consequences of it, such as the firefights being messy with civilians very frequently being caught in the crossfire. The two main protagonists are also portrayed as desperate, selfish and destructive, as to show how morally bankrupt one would have to be to commit the actions of the anti-heroic protagonists found in titles like Grand Theft Auto as well as how horrible they would actually be.
  • 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. It can lose some of the impact of the above as it still contains a typical achievement system, that forces you to complete the game repeatedly, including the railroaded dehumanising incidents.

    Visual Novels 
  • Air Pressure: A romance visual novel where the male protagonist can improve his relationship with a cute girl — except that said relationship is toxic and the best ending comes from the protagonist realizing this and breaking up with her.
  • I Hate You: Dating sims. Exactly What It Says on the Tin, as no matter what you do or how hard you try, none of the girls in the game will ever see you as anything more than an obsessed loser.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony doesn't seem to start off this way (though there is foreshadowing that it is) but the final chapter decides to deconstruct the entire Danganronpa franchise and everything that it stands for (Hope vs Despair, hope always winning, etc).

    Web Games 

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