Escaping in games

When I was a kid, one of my favourite things to do in open world games was to “escape” the game. Whether that meant jumping over kill barriers, trying to swim to that island just beyond out of reach, or seeing if I could find the “Devil’s” that play past the world’s edge. I was obsessed with idea of finding easter eggs, small treats out of reach, or just falling into an endless repeating void.

Now, in the world of youtube guides and endless procedural maps, it’s harder and harder to find that space where you’re unsure if you’re breaking a game, or rebelling as intended. I’m curious if anyone has any recommendations for games that give you that feeling, or any memories of this kind of rogue exploration to share.

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The first game I remember really doing this with and it being a feature of pretty much the entire game was Halo 2 whether it was completing Delta Halo in about 3 minutes or taking a Banshee into the climactic fight.

Can confirm that the Master Chief Collection which AFAIK is on Game Pass hasn’t patched this either so you can still easily break nearly every single level. There’s a ton of rewards on a couple of levels for breaking from the narrative path as well.

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The only part of Battlefield 3’s solo campaign I enjoyed was one bit where there’s a tank chasing you and your squad through a city street. A squadmate kicks open a door and you all dive through and slam it shut right before the tank fires. At least that’s what’s supposed to happen. When I got there the door never opened. My team dove through, literally through the door which was still solid to me. The tank fired, but I was still alive. Suddenly everything was quiet, so I took a walk around the street. I discovered that the trigger that’s supposed to fail the mission when I go out of bounds was also broken, so I kept walking around the half-modeled desert backdrop and the skyline of simple buildings wrapped in distorted low-res distance textures. Bad game, but a great bug.

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The original Star Wars Battlefront 2! You could do this on a lot of levels thanks to the god mode cheat. The amount of level beyond the normal play area was actually quite incredible. Some of them you could drive for I want to say 5 to 10 minutes before actually reaching the edge.

Also the Just Cause 2 Demo had a bug that let you indefinitely extend it and you could use that to get to unfinished areas. I can’t find a video showing a particular bug of this off but there’s a part where the road just abruptly ends and is drop off into the water. The AI of course doesn’t care and just drives off the cliff into the water and it was the funniest thing to watch as these cars just one after another blindly drove into the water.

I remember in Hailan Rising I was trying to do something similar, going through the holes of a cavern wall, gaining access more quickly to the boss room. Other than that in WarRock there were obstacles where we could jump over and reach an area (not intended for players to go) that was safer, from where we could attack other players. But I don’t remember really trying to “leave the simulation” while playing video games.

I remember doing this years ago while playing Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy multiplayer level Taspir. There were dedicated servers for people trying to force jump into the mountains. I’m not sure if the game was designed for players to do this, but it was fun trying to push the boundaries with a bunch of random people on the internet.

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