Meta, from the Ancient Greek μετά. A prefix used in English in order to indicate a concept which is an abstraction from another concept, used to complete or add to the latter.
For as long as video games have offered even a minimal amount of freedom gamers have strived to exploit that freedom. The most common form of this practice is to find glitches in a game that can be exploited to give the player some advantage in a multiplayer situation. I think we all agree that people doing this should be shot. But, as with most things in life, where some people find only evil others, the best of us, find beauty and enjoyment.
As you are reading this I will assume you are the latter of the two, the beauty finders. I’m sure you have all taken some time out in a game to ‘fuck about a bit’. Crackdown comes directly to mind. Strike up a co-op game and jump in a car, get your buddy to grab a skip and have them drop it upside down on top of your car. Bingo, armored tank-car-skip!
In Oblivion levitating shoes onto the roofs of buildings became somewhat of an Internet phenomenon thanks to the guys at Consolevania. In Splinter Cell you can race corpses by dropping them down the stairs. In nearly all GTA games you can have excellent fun piling up cars and then running a trail of other cars as a fuse, blow up the one at the end of the trail and you’ll get a very satisfying show. This is all well and good. Shoes, corpses & explosions are all great fun but on occasion player creativity can give birth to a game within a game, a meta game.
In Project Gotham Racing 2 online players developed their own meta game, Cat and Mouse. This proved so popular that Cat and Mouse was included as a selectable game mode in the game’s sequel. In Halo 3 Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth created the rugby-like game of Grifball and now runs leagues for the pseudo-sport.
I have recently discovered another meta game, one that has resurfaced from it’s Alpha roots thanks to the inclusion of a certain Italian Fortune Teller in Street Fighter IV. Rose, the mother of Rose Ball. Let me introduce you to this wonderful sport. Our girl Rose can throw Soul Spark fireballs, no big deal there, right? Well she has another move of interest, Soul Reflect. With the ‘Medium Punch’ version of this move Rose can bounce a projectile directly back at her opponent. So you set up a Vs game with the following rules.
Best of 7 rounds
Infinite round time
Both players choose Rose
Set handicap to ‘No Stars’
Select the training stage
From here it’s pretty simple, play it in rounds like tennis. One player serves then just keep reflecting for as long as you can. With the Handicap set low one miss will kill you, and there’s no jumping allowed. Give it a shot, you’ll get the idea! You can throw off your opponent by stepping towards or away from them or mixing up the speed of your serve.
So get your game on everyone, and if you fancy a few rounds just chuck me an invite!