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One Button Games Explored

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the poke-poke-poke dept.

Games 50

An Anonymous Reader wrote: "Gamasutra has published an article about the possibilities available when only one button is used in games. It has some simple, fun Flash examples embedded in it and focuses on basic game theory in a way I've not seen before. It loses some punch towards the end but still provides a number of insights and some interesting ideas."

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first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12915197)


One button games and... (3, Insightful)

Zangief (461457) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915204)

No mention of the fantastic Wario Ware?!

That games includes a lot of minigames controlled only with one button. Not even directions AND one button. Just the button.

Re:One button games and... (1)

trekstar25 (727712) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915445)

The game would be a lot less fun if they were all one button games. Most of the one button games in WarioWare are either timing (i.e. punch the button when its time to catch the glass) or hitting it a bunch before the timer runs out (i.e. "Munch!" or whatever). I'm usually pretty happy whenever there's a d-pad game to break up the trouble.

Re:One button games and... (1, Redundant)

tektek (829733) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915933)

You might be interested in the new wario ware [] game then. :)

Re:One button games and... (1)

rohlfinator (888775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12919709)

Many of the one-button demonstrations in their flash demos are used in Wario Ware games, so maybe it's an indirect reference.

One Button Games? (4, Funny)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915216)

Yes, Macs can play games, like Breakout, and Super Breakout.

Re:One Button Games? (2, Funny)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915253)

Don't forget Photoshop!

Re:One Button Games? (1)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915937)

I had an old mac that had Sim Tower. I kinda wish I had the windows version, so I could see if there was a right-click menu...

Re:One Button Games? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#12917252)

That's how sad the gaming world is on the mac. People remember every game they ever owned on the system.

For XBOX (3, Informative)

TouchOfRed (785130) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915227)

Fusion Frenzy or whatever it was for XBOX used a lot of these, and they were FUN, especially for games when you have people over, and are just looking for fun with a small learning curve.

Re:For XBOX (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915537)

Other example is Kirby's Air Ride for the Gamecube, it's a racer that uses only directional input and one button (usually it brakes and charges up your turbo boost, you accellerate automatically when you don't press the button).

Old article (2)

RoboB0B (751580) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915237)

They are just posting this now? The article was on Gamastura on 06/02.

Re:Old article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12915587)

Tell me you're not that blind. The article was posted on 06/02/05 Jeeze.

This is where Flash games excel (3, Informative) (891029) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915399)

Pick any of these:

Boat Rider []

Lightning Pool []

Wolf n Swine []

Just so long as the developers understand that Flash games are at their best when the game mechanics are kept simple. That doesn't mean that the game itself has to be simple, there's still room for complexity and depth. Please, flash developers, no more multiplayer games - they just don't work

Enjoy :)

Obligatory (1, Funny)

Have Blue (616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915408)

With research like this, we could see a real renaissance in Mac gaming!

Here's one... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915492)

A classic [] .

My favorite (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915662)

Don't think this [] is what they had in mind but it is my favorite :)

Re:My favorite (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915737)

1169.5 is my personal best. You get a much better score if you hit the sucker on a low-line drive... the penguine skids across the ice instead of just splatting....

THanks for the link :)

Re:My favorite (1)

jobbleberry (608883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12918010)


I just managed to get 1203.9 on my first swing. Making him slide did the trick.

Took me about 5 minutes... (1)

jeblucas (560748) | more than 9 years ago | (#12920069)

...but I got a 1212.9. You've gotta clear 700 in the air, but not have him stick.

Re:My favorite (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 9 years ago | (#12922450)

you guys just ruined my productivity...

I just got a 1213.9, but I'm trying to see how short I can get and actually hit the thing (so far the 760's seems to be it...)

Re:My favorite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12923734)

I just got a 736, actually, but when I first tried it I somehow got a negative 53.6 when I whiffed the thing.

Fly the Copter.. (1)

sH4RD (749216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915725)

Fly The Copter [] anyone? It surely is a classic example of a one button game.

Re:Fly the Copter.. (3, Informative)

teamsteve (895248) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915808)

there's plenty of one button games available here [] , thanks to a competition [] run by retro remakes a month or so ago

JoustPong!!! (1)

kingsmedley (796795) | more than 9 years ago | (#12915815)

How can you have an article about one-button games and not mention that classic Atari 2600 homebrew, JoustPong?!? [] (Now known as "Flap-Ping" since Atari whined about the use of the word "Pong" in the title.)

Here's a link to the Usenet discussion [] that led to the creation of the game. Note the tendency towards KSS (Kitchen Sick Syndrome) by a few of the posters. ;)

Re:JoustPong!!! (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 9 years ago | (#12935322)

Hey, thanks for the Plug :-)

I'm still on the look out for true "one button games" -- Mario Party has a few, including a clever one where you have to limbo...each button press is a hop plus a lean back, but you're leaning back up at the same too fast you topple, too slow and you rise too hight and don't make it under.

I also made some REAL one button games: []
these are games ENTIRELY played within a single grey HTML pushbutton...I change the captions via javascript to make some cute little games.

Obligatory (3, Funny)

herc_mk2 (586993) | more than 9 years ago | (#12916523)

Back in my day, *all* games were one-button. And you had to share the button with the other players, because we couldn't afford enough buttons for everyone.

(insert random "you insensitive clods" drivel here)

There's Truth in That (1)

wintermute1974 (596184) | more than 9 years ago | (#12917123)

As anyone who grew up with a one-button Atari joystick [] can vouch for, the only limitation to the complexity of the games that can be created is the programmer's imagination.

In the eyes of that generation past, the present-day controllers seem ridiculous. Instead of getting a joystick, you get a little plastic pad, and you have to press the joystick contacts yourself. Worse still, just pressing the button won't help you discover how to play the game: You are to waste weeks learning that pressing A-A-B-B-A will get your on-screen avatar to work properly. It's nonsense.

Re:Obligatory (2, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 9 years ago | (#12917737)

You had a button to share? In my household, we had two wires, and we had to connect them by hand to play our video games. And every time we connected the wires, we recieved an electric shock, and we were happy.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Scorchio (177053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12920693)

Reminds me of playing Speedball on my friend's Amiga. A slew of these button hammering games had taken their toll on the joysticks, leaving broken microswitches under the fire buttons. I ended up wrapping my thumb and forefinger in kitchen foil, and connected the wires from the broken fire button switch to the foil with sticky tape. Tap thumb and forefinger together to fire...

It worked. Sort of. There wasn't a whole lot of wire to pull outside of the joystick, so it was very easy to pull one away from the foil. Nothing more frustrating than suddenly being unable to hit that fire button seconds from scoring a point.

this... (2, Funny)

KillShill (877105) | more than 9 years ago | (#12917131)

should be in the Apple section... /geese

Nanaca Crash (1)

philiptan (669463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12917277)

Try Nanaca Crash [] ! You can find mirrors all over the place using Google.

It's an awful lot like golf...involving vehicle accidents and needy boyfriends. Or something.

The mouse button does have uses after the initial click, but part of the fun is discovering else you can do.

One button is a fundamental, not a gimmick. (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 9 years ago | (#12917468)

John Carmack had to fight tooth and nail with his dev crew to ensure the computer consoles were activated with no more than the mouse and fire button in Doom 3.

ProgressQuest (1)

ldpercy (800509) | more than 9 years ago | (#12917559) [] provides hours and hours of fun and only has one control - Alt+F4 ;)

SFCave (1)

Solder Fumes (797270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12918028)

The original best game for Palm: SFCave [] . SFCave is the kind of game that a bored microwave designer could easter-egg into the control panel. I wish they would.

Re:SFCave (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 9 years ago | (#12925673)

Ooh, that's a good one. When I started reading this whole thread, I was thinking, wasn't there some cave game I had on my palm back in the day that was controlled by one button? That would be it.

Great Shmup in the spirit of 1 button (1)

drunken-sosage (769707) | more than 9 years ago | (#12918368)

For anyone that is interested, the CPS-2 version of Mars Matrix [] used one button for up to five weapon system functions, which are executed depending on how you hit/heald the button (Normal fire, Cannon, Shield, Reflect Bullets and Gravity Bomb). Be forewarned, the Dreamcast version has all the functions mapped to seperate buttons (although I'd be surprised if they did not have a 1-button set up just like the arcade version). One of the most underrated commercial shmups imo. Check it out. =)

Re:Great Shmup in the spirit of 1 button (1)

Prophet of Nixon (842081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12919346)

That is nearly the best shooter ever made, and certainly the best on the DC, yet for some reason it got completely overlooked after Ikaruga came out (which was the much lesser game, it only had 2 good levels).

ashamed (2, Interesting)

Ringl (895323) | more than 9 years ago | (#12918377)

I'll admit it, I've held the button []

Orisinal (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 9 years ago | (#12919042)

not strictly one button (mouse and spacebar in many cases) but check
this [] out.

I think the guy is a game design genius. My favorite is the frog pond game.

Re:Orisinal (1)

Bwerf (106435) | more than 9 years ago | (#12920479)

Wow, these are really good, thanks for the tip.

Retro Remakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12919124)

Nothing about Retro Remakes's One button contest? There were some really great games there... []

Re:Retro Remakes (1)

malf-uk (456583) | more than 9 years ago | (#12919415)

My mother has never really got the hang of playing computer games.

However, back in 1983 on my 48K Sinclair ZX Spectrum there was a single key game that she was able to play quite well - Ground Force Zero [] .

Written in BASIC and just requiring the use of the 'B' key.

The screen was filled with a range of different sized skyscrapers and you started off at the top in your plane. Every time your plane reached the other side of the screen it would descend one row of characters.

Your single key dropped a bomb which would hopefully land on one of the skyscrapers and demolish a few floors. You could only drop one bomb at a time, so you had to make sure you removed the higher ones first. The game ended either when you crashed into a skyscraper or demolished all of the skyscrapers. On landing your aircraft successfully, the pilot got out and did somersaults...well at least i think that was happening as the chap was a mono 8x8 graphic!

Re:Retro Remakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12919592)

It should be noted that although the competition was held by RetroRemakes, the entries were not limited to remakes in any way. I entered a game in this competition, and have played a lot of the other entries. If you are curious about what can be done with just a single button, this is definitely something to check out. There are something like 70 one switch games available for free here: / []

Re:Retro Remakes (1)

TheFakeCow (895378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12919922)

Check out Strange Attractors at [] . Its definitely not a remake =)

Kirby Air Ride Rocks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12925183)

Kirby Air Ride is a great example of a game that uses only one button. You'd think that would make it easy, but instead it makes it very difficult, because with just one button it all comes down to timing. That is, it's difficult if you're trying to win. However, if you're not playing to win it's a great game for kids. I have a 2-year-old cousin I let play. I set the options to remove the time limit and severely handicap all his opponents. He loves it.

An old laserdisc one-button game (1)

ohboy-sleep (601567) | more than 9 years ago | (#12925694)

Back in the heyday of laserdisc games Badlands [] was a one-button only wonder. Basically you had to hit the button to shoot, but only when an enemy drew his gun and innocents weren't in the way.

other examples (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 9 years ago | (#12935476)

Another example of neat simplistic one button action is Arcadia []'s an exercise in multitasking, trying to take on 4 very simple games at once...
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