Gravity Bundle

What goes up… doesn’t always come down!

It’s one of the most important forces in videogames, yet we don’t think about it very much at all.

It’s the reason Mario jumps, rather than flies; it’s the reason spaceships need rockets; it’s the reason FIFA is playable.

Come and play with Gravity!

Here’s a few games that make you really think about if what goes up really does come down.

Momentum, a function of mass and velocity, is conserved between portals. In layman’s terms: speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out.

GLaDOS

Super Mario Galaxy

Mario pretty much invented jumping in videogames (he was originally called 'Jumpman' in Donkey Kong, before designer Shigeru Miyamoto renamed him for the sequel).

The whole game takes place across galaxies of spherical planets, setting the designers free to make new ways of creating fun for the player.

It's one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time!

If you like programming and algorithms, you can find a quite complicated but comprehensive explanation of how Super Mario Galaxy's gravity system works here on Gamasutra!

Gone is the comforting assurance that performing one of his trademark jumps will result in Mario landing safely a second or so later because in space, what goes up won't necessarily come down. Throw in the fact that any of the planets Mario touches down on could have their own unique gravitational field, and it's easy to see how the effects of weightlessness could turn Mario's latest adventure upside-down.

Nintendo.co.uk

Super Mario Galaxy Screenshot

VVVVVV

VVVVVV (the letter 'v' six times) is about reversing gravity. Like many of developer Terry Cavanagh's games, it has a minimalist look and is very, very tough!

Start playing from the beginning, and notice how beautifully the game gradually builds on its simple mechanic of switching gravity.

In January 2020, for its 20th anniversary, VVVVVV went open source! Meaning you can now see exactly how it was built! This blog post announcing the decision also contains notes on the code.

VVVVVV screenshot

Portal 2

Portal originally started as a student project! A small group from the Digipen Institute of Technology were working on a game concept called 'Narbacular Drop' as their senior project. The project was spotted by Valve Software boss Gabe Newell and they were all offered jobs!

Portal 2 invites you (and a friend) to play with the laws of physics in a fantastically original puzzle game.

There's lots of ways to explore gravity and other physics topics in Portal 2, so much so that teachwithportals.com even created complete lesson plans that use Portal 2!

image of Portal 2 co-op robots