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3/15/2010 11:06:24 PM

A Brief History of Sprinting in Video Games: It's nothing new.

As you know, Halo Reach features an armor ability that enables you to sprint. This is a big change to the Halo recipe, but it's not some half hearted attempt to steal features from other popular games, rather, it is a conscious gameplay decision to add a classic mechanic. It's hard to google this subject and get a straight answer, so I went straight to the game manuals. Buckle up, this might be a long read. [quote][/quote] [b]Super Mario Bros., 1985[/b] It's simple, when you held down "b" Mario ran faster. It's a far cry from modern sprinting mechanics, but this classic game seems to be the first to feature a running ability of some kind. [b]Wolfenstein 3D, 1992[/b] The grandpappy of all First Person Shooters, if you wanted to get your Blazkowicz all up in some National Socialist's face, you held down the right shift key while pressing the forward key. Again, it was very simple. You could run for as long as you could manage to hold down the shift key. [b]Doom, 1993[/b] [quote]Doom isn't Wolfenstein 3D!!![/quote] The most famous of the early shooters, it seems Doom "stole" Wolfenstein's running mechanic. That's right, you just needed to hold down that fraggin' shift key to charge feet first into Hell. [b]Marathon, 1994[/b] Okay, we'll give Doom a break. It seems a running key was just as common as a walking key in these early shooters. Caps Lock was the run key in Bungie's Doom clone, Marathon! Comparing the two is like comparing Taken to the Bourne Identity though, Marathon had a deep compelling story while Doom's was pretty simple: survive. At any rate, running had the same effect in this game as the others. Apparently all these early super heroes made the run to Athens; they could literally jog forever. [quote]On a side note, while I was researching Marathon, I came across this: "[b]Biobus Chip Enhancements[/b] Biobus Chip Enhancements (BCE's) are plug ins for your suit and helmet. They have self contained power sources which last only for a short period of time. When found their effects take place immediately." BCE's worked a lot like the Active Camo and Overshield pick ups in Halo. In fact, Marathon's Transparency and Super Shield were probably the inspiration for them. I mention them because the concept sounds a lot like what Armor Abilities are going to be in Reach, except we'll be able to choose when to activate them, and they'll recharge.[/quote] [i]Between 1992 and 2000, no real innovations occurred as far as running was concerned. There were lots of games that either had a continuous run key, or they didn't.[/i] [quote][/quote] [b]No One Lives Forever, 2000[/b] The running in this game was the same as all the others, hold enter to run fast, but I mention it because it offered incentives for walking slower. You made less noise when you walked so you could sneak up on enemies. I hope some version of that tech shows up in Reach. Baddies should definitely be able to hear a charging Spartan. [quote]Fun Fact: NOLF was one of the first games that allowed for bullet penetration of various materials.[/quote] [b]Deus Ex, 2000[/b] Deus Ex appears to be one of the first games to include a run feature that did not last forever. Yes, you could toggle a run or walk, like the classics, but different Augmentations could increase your movement speed and help you get your Deus on. Augmentations were regulated by a Bio energy meter, if you ran out while using a speed aug, you went back to default speed. I haven't played Deus Ex, so please correct me if I misinterpreted the manual. [b]Grand Theft Auto III, Oct. 6, 2001[/b] [i]Thanks to Doom Sticks for bringing this one to my attention.[/i] Grand Theft Auto III brought a lot of things to the hot coffee table that is the gaming world, and it seems it may be the one to hold the title of the first video game to feature a modern sprint ability. If you pressed x, you initiated a run that continued until you became tired. I don't believe it was illustrated by any meter in game. [b]Halo: Combat Evolved, 2001[/b] [i]Cue singing monks.[/i] Along with a lot of the other games of this last generation, Halo did not feature a run ability, despite the fact that you played as a cybernetically enhanced super soldier. Apparently the Master Chief was never provided with the proper Armor Abilities. [i]For whatever reason, running seems to have faded from 2000 to 2004.[/i] [b]Call of Duty 1 and 2, 2003 and 2005[/b] I guess sprinting was against the Geneva Convention until mid WWII. Neither 1 nor 2 included a sprint, though Call of Duty 2 introduced the world to the mantle ability. A new way to move efficiently through your environment. [quote]The upcoming video game, Brink, is taking the mantle system to the extreme with their new SMART system. It'll be like Parkour with guns![/quote] [b]Call of Duty: United Offensive, Sept. 16, 2004[/b] [i]Cool, headcrab53 pointed me towards this expansion. This may be the first First Person Shooter to include a sprinting ability.[/i] An expansion pack for the original Call of Duty was created by Gray Matter Interactive and released just before Battlefront came out. You pressed "ALT" to sprint forward for brief periods of time. This revolutionized the system for FPS's. Now you had to watch how much you used sprint so it was available when you needed it most. [b]Half Life 2, Nov. 16, 2004[/b] [i]Thanks to Darth Kooky for the info on this one.[/i] Half Life 2 was another game with sprinting released closely on United Offensive's heels. You pressed shift or LB to sprint and it depleted auxiliary power which recharged when not sprinting. [b]Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, Nov. 1st, 2005[/b] After an emergency meeting of the Geneva Convention, sprinting was once again allowed in war scenarios. Interestingly enough, it could only be used in multiplayer. [i]From here on out, Sprinting and Dashing have once again become features common to shooters in general. Though now it's almost always the recharging stamina version. Games like Gears of War, GRAW, Mass Effect, Call of Duty's 3-6, and more have used differing versions of it.[/i] [b]Call of Duty 4, 2007[/b] One of the most prominent games to utilize a recharging sprinting ability, Call of Duty 4 and its sequel both felt the call of the sprinting band wagon. [b]Mirror's Edge, 2009[/b] This is a very unique entry to the list of sprinting video games. While no button is actually pressed to initiate a sprint, speed is built up as a reward for running without mistakes. Mirror's edge is built almost entirely on movement and interacting with your environment. [b]Halo: Reach, 2010[/b] The upcoming sci fi shooter will feature several power ups known as Armor Abilities. This will be the first Halo game with a sprint ability. It seems Bungie is mixing Marathon's BCE's and run system with Halo 3's equipment. The sprint ability will just be one of the many cool new things falling into our laps in 2010. [quote][/quote] I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. Feel free to correct me, the more accurate this thing is, the better. TL:DR, Running has been around in video games, and specifically First Person Shooters, for a very long time. There has been a recent increase of games including a new, improved sprint feature that involves recharging stamina. Reach is just one of many incorporating this classic gameplay mechanic into our games once again. [url=]Here's where I found all the game manuals.[/url] It's a cool site, has almost any game manual you think of. [Edited on 03.16.2010 2:17 PM PDT]
#Halo #Reach

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