10 Times Video Games Knew What You Were Thinking (And Rewarded It)

When player and game are on the same wavelength.

red dead redemption edgar ross

When you get right down to it, game devs are just nerds who decided to commit. You get into game development - ideally - because you yourself are a gamer and you want to be part of that process. Why else put up with what your average game dev has to endure because of their bosses on a daily basis if you didn't genuinely love it?

As such, game devs often think from the perspective of their potential customers, what they want from the game they're working on, what they would expect to see if they were a consumer and so on. While this can be used to great effect in subverting expectations, it also can be used to reward a player's out-of-the-box thinking.

These ten entries are examples of the player and the game developer being on the exact same wavelength, where the player tries something weird or obscure or clever, only to find that not only could they do it, but the game WANTED them to do it. Whether they be Easter eggs, alternate ways of solving a problem, or the game encouraging the player to give in to a baser urge, there was a shared moment of wavelength.

10. Using The Same Mantras - Ultima V

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Origin Systems

The Ultima series is one of the great grandfathers of the CRPG, setting in motion a lot of ideas that would become foundational for the genre. And also having many ideas that have been sadly forgotten despite them making the player's life a lot easier.

For instance, if you played Ultima IV before V, then you're introduced to the Mantras, specific magical phrases that you need to type in with your keyboard in order for them to work. Cut to Ultima V, where you're told to find the Mantras again.

But, again, assuming you played Ultima IV before hopping into V, you might remember the keyboard commands for the Mantras you got last time. Well, you're in luck, buddy! Your fandom is rewarded with skipping over all that tedious nonsense and just getting all the Mantras immediately, as V carries over all of the keyboard commands for the Mantras from IV.

Tiny little details like this are what make going back to otherwise primitive CRPGs worth it.


John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?