10 Coolest Video Game Features (That Are Utterly Pointless)

Max Payne NPC conversations are still incredible.

Max Payne npcs

Video games have a come long way from a black screen with two yellow lines and a little yellow dot going back and forth, controlled by a knob with one button.

Now we've got controllers with a dozen buttons, 4k graphics, and if you're a PC gamer with less than two grand put into your rig then you probably get to hear the sound of a helicopter lifting off every time you start up Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition.

A lot of features in games are great quality of life improvements from skippable cutscenes to color blind settings. But for every advanced feature that makes games better, there's a dozen that are neat – but absolutely useless.

By this point there have been plenty of articles about the totally unnecessary AI of ants in Skyrim or the melting ice cubes in Metal Gear Sold 2, so we can continue to “ooo and awe” about them on our own time.

We're going to hopefully talk about some stuff that doesn't get mentioned, but are no less awesome to witness every time we feel that helicopter shake the underside of our desk.

10. Including Retro AND Modern Graphics - Prodeus

Max Payne npcs
Bounding Box

The makers of Prodeus said that classic '90s shooters were a big part of the inspiration for their game. With Doom, Quake and Metroid Prime being the driving force behind your product it's not hard to imagine you're dealing with folks who grew up with pixel sprite graphics. And not just the makers, but certainly also the 2800 Kickstarter backers who put forth over $100 thousand dollars toward its development.

A fun feature that Prodeus has included is the ability to decide whether you want to play the game with modern or retro graphics. You can set the monstrous enemies you'll be gunning down to burst apart as 3D models, or to explode into pixelated blood showers from 2D sprites.

Nothing about this option changes gameplay – the enemies have the same hitboxes, they react the same way, and your weapons act the same whether you're shooting at pixels or polygons - but as a nostalgia-baiting idea that's little more a skin change, it's so cool to witness and play around with.

There's a few games out there with this feature like the remakes of Secret of Monkey Island and Command & Conquer as well as Super Mario Maker. But few of them are first-person shooters with such a visceral atmosphere.

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Author of Escort (Eternal Press, 2015), co-founder of Nic3Ntertainment, and developer behind The Sickle Upon Sekigahara (2020). Currently freelancing as a game developer and history consultant. Also tends to travel the eastern U.S. doing courses on History, Writing, and Japanese Poetry. You can find his portfolio at www.richardcshaffer.com.