Do videogames penalize you for using a "boost" until it runs out?
March 6, 2019 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Many videogames have some kind of limited-use recharging speed boost function, such as nitro in racing games, sprint in most FPSs, etc. For 25 years of gaming and hundreds of games, I've always assumed that you shouldn't run the boost all the way to the bottom, because then it recharges more slowly. But a friend says this is nonsense. Does anyone know if games penalizing the player for using their boost all the way to the bottom is common?
posted by bakerybob to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Nonsense in my experience (proud gamer since 1988!). Maybe there are some games that do this, but I can't name any, and it's certainly not a universal feature of gaming boosts.
posted by erst at 7:59 PM on March 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I haven’t played any racing games in a long time, but I cannot think of a single game I have played that penalizes you for using a boost all the way to the bottom.

The closest thing I can think of is the first Mass Effect game, where your guns had unlimited ammo but built up heat when you fired them. The heat would steadily dissipate, but If you weren’t judicious in your shooting, your gun would overheat, and there would be a delay until you could use it again. But as shooting was something you were doing non-stop rather than a limited boost, I think it must not qualify.
posted by ejs at 8:02 PM on March 6, 2019

Off the top of my head, I can't think of examples where the boost energy specifically takes longer to recharge if you fully deplete it, but there are several other ways that games punish you. One common pattern is where you can boost with a partially full meter as much as you want, but if you fully deplete your energy, you become "exhausted" and lose the ability to boost until your energy is fully recharged (cf. horse stamina in some Legend of Zelda games, VFX meter in Viewtiful Joe).
posted by J.K. Seazer at 8:09 PM on March 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

I believe excitebike for the NES did this.

And overheating guns.

I think this is occasionally a thing with stamina meters.

Have a tvtropes link to research
posted by Jacen at 8:11 PM on March 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Here's one example that's closer in spirit to the question: in Star Wars: Episode I: Racer, you don't really have a "boost meter", but your engine temperature serves the same purpose. When you boost, your engine heats up, and if it gets too hot, it catches fire, so you have to spend a few seconds putting out the fire (which also slows you down), or else you'll explode.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 8:28 PM on March 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Anecdotally, I remember games aligned with J.K. Seazer's point -- I think it's the Asphalt racing games where there's a benefit to boosting from a full meter, so it's better to keep your bar filled by doing short boosts than draining it all in one go.

As Jacen notes, there's lots of overheating mechanics that punish people using too much of something, though that's slightly different than I think what we're looking for. Like holding shield too long in Smash Brothers, it stuns you, but I presume the shield still comes back at the same rate.
posted by matrixclown at 9:14 PM on March 6, 2019

I think this is fairly common, yes. As the other answers point out, it does also seem quite common that it does not happen.
Examples off the top of my head where this does happen:

Zelda Breath of the Wild stamina meter
Zelda Ocarina of Time horse stamina carrots
Wii party horse racing stamina
posted by richb at 3:03 AM on March 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks everybody! Now I feel like I need to go back and replay the last 25 years of games with a very slightly different strategy...
posted by bakerybob at 5:26 PM on March 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older Zero tolerance blue light?   |   Please suggest smallish, bike-friendly cities in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.