what about modes that aren't difficulty settings?

i'm having trouble coming up with examples, but i have an impression that there are a number of games that offer several variations of play, modes if you will, with these modes emphasizing different aspects of one core game, either through level design or mode specific rules, elements, or mechanics.

what i'm not thinking of are modes that emphasize difficulty, because those are difficulty settings. i'm also not thinking of wholly independent games being smashed together, strung together, or embedded in an overworld.

if the mechanics of a videogame are analogous to a deck of playing cards, then the sort of _modes_ i'm thinking of are variants of solitaire.

this seems like something you'd've found in the 80's. i'm can't remember, but i think _balloon fight_ might be an example.

The latest updates to Caves of Qud has several modes that radically impact “difficulty” without being “difficulty” settings.

_CoQ_ is a narrative-heavy Roguelike that was originally designed around traditionally Roguelike values. When you create a new character you now have a few options:

  • - Classic: Original perma-death Roguelike gameplay.
  • - Roleplay: You get to a settlement and you can save your game at a checkpoint.
  • - Wander: You get checkpoints, and most creatures are also neutral to you (as opposed to primarily being hostile).
  • Huge impacts on the game's difficulty, (to complete to the end) but it's not really a difficulty setting, especially Wander as it takes the same ingredients but has such a different purpose.

    ArcSysWorks' fighting games often have endless/dungeon/abyss modes where you pick a character and level the character up over time. As you play, you get XP, and new abilities, more HP, access to buffs, etc. So the moves are the same, but you get a character arc beyond just your own skills. _BlazBlue_ and _Persona 4 Arena_ both have substantial modes in this vein.

    Civ V introduced a radically different play style when they added Venice as a playable nation. Can‘t build settlers, can’t annex cities. Are restricted entirely to the city of Venice, however with super-powered trade and diplomacy


    @“antillese”#p52852 ArcSysWorks’ fighting games often have endless/dungeon/abyss modes where you pick a character and level the character up over time.

    yeah, and to add to that i think the volleyball game in _teken 3_ counts.

    I think puzzle modes in action puzzle games such as Tetris count as well. It‘s a way to engage with the game’s rules without having to stress about mechanical proficiency. It also provides a variety of situations that you may never encounter in a normal game, almost like the difference between playing the chess puzzles in the newspaper as opposed to a game of chess.

    Time Attack

    Boss Rush

    Some Burnout games had a crash mode that was like bowling with your car.

    @“pasquinelli”#p52856 I was originally going to suggest “Griffball” in Halo 3. But then I thought that Halo 3 Forge mode is actually more along what you‘re thinking of in the first post. It’s a weird mix of multiplayer playable map editor. When the game was active, it was an incredibly popular way to play the game.


    @“pasquinelli”#p52850 balloon fight

    I think your suggestion of _Balloon Fight's_ Balloon Trip is a good example of this. Same physics, same game engine, radically different purpose.

    I feel like the Discovery Tour mode of the recent Assassin's Creeds would be a big one for this. Not only removing combat, but turning the locales into a guided museum tour.

    Driving / racing games, especially those that skew towards simulation rather than arcade, are largely expected to support modes:

  • - “Normal” race mode, with opponents and collision and maybe damage, set number of laps to complete a race;
  • - Time Trial mode, no opponents on the track (sometimes with a ghost replay), no damage modelling, infinite number of laps to try and set a good single lap time
  • (I often enjoy time trial mode more than regular races)

    Does something like RE4s Mercenary mode count?

    Also Tetris DS has quite a few different play modes.