Geometry or Death

So, I‘ve been playing the only game that gets me and I have a really satisfying, dynamic relationship with: Dead Cells. I could go on, but I’ve noticed, the higher the difficulty gets, the more reliance on outmaneuvering enemies with the level design (not really “design” because it's procedural) becomes helpful.

I was tooling around with Mayo 3 and realized so much of the handling of enemies and grabbing power-ups hinges on reading the arc of Mayo's jump and the enemy's approach.


What are some 2d action games that **don't** use geometry as a major design aspect? My own top ten for the Insert Credit Forum poll was half 2d action games, and I could almost sure this is true for 1 of them (Cave Story), but I know in my heart this is wrong.

@“dylanfills”#p41040 i may be misunderstanding what you‘re saying. does robotron fit? there is no level geometry, really. though, the enemies and the last human family create a space to navigate… i’m not sure though how you could have an action game that isn't about navigation, fundementally.

@“pasquinelli”#p41048 I don‘t think that fits. I think any shooting type game, whether it’s scrolling or twin stick, can't fit because you have to be aware of the arc of a shot, or lack thereof.

The closest I can get to a good example is Street Fighter, where there isn't very much vertical movement (as I understand it, maybe incorrectly) and timing and reading/reacting to your opponent is tantamount to just about every other piece of information

Yeah Street Fighter (and fighting games generally) are the action games where I think the most about geometry. The fact that Cammy has a divekick and can alter her jump arc is her biggest strength for instance. And knowing your opponent's jump arc helps you space fireballs such that if they jump over them you can anti air them.

@“Syzygy”#p41058 I stand corrected. My experience with Street Fighter is nil, so I apologize for my ignorance

DDR? Is that an action game? I feel like we‘d have to go somewhere like that to avoid geometry completely. Not even sure if it works because the control scheme makes you consider the geometry of your irl limbs so they don’t get tangled.

also you have to hit the right direction at the right time, or in other words when the arrow is in the right place.

a while ago i had the realization that interactions are inherently spatiotemporal. before i thought they were commonly so, now i firmly believe they are inherently so.

that said, geometry (and time) being a fact in any interaction isn't the same as a game being *about* manuvering. but, maybe it is.


Geometry (from the Ancient Greek: γεωμετρία; geo- "earth", -metron "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position of figures.

Under this definition, it’s pretty tough to identify a 2D action game not being related to geometry in at least broad strokes.

I guess Elevator Action and its game design descendants (Rolling Thunder, Elevator Action Returns, the original Shinobi etc.) are more so about the player’s manipulation of their hitbox / hurtbox status – disguised as the "door" or "separate floor" mechanic depending on the game – than relative enemy positioning.

Maybe you could argue early maze games that rely mostly only on _x, y_ movement constrained in long corridors (Pac-Man, Rally X, maybe even something like Lode Runner etc.) have limited need of understanding advanced geometrics and are more strictly about kinetics and dynamics.