Unintentional Emergence in Minecraft
I find Minecraft to be a really solid example of unintentional emergence. Minecraft itself is a very simple game. You mine and dig for blocks to build with, and craft some things to survive. That’s really all there is to the main idea of the game, but people make so much more out of it. Pistons and redstone are a good example. Redstone is a highly simplified simulation of wiring circuits. Pistons are a simple machine that push a block one space forward. With these incredibly simple systems people make incredible devices. One of the most impressive things I’ve seen is redstone calculators. Using redstone people actually manage to create circuit boards that can solve math problems. Here’s an example video:
Aside from electronic devices, people also take the building part alone to crazy extents. The idea of the game is just to build to survive, but people create much more than simple shacks to survive. Personally I have built an Ironclad warship so big that it doesn’t even fit in render distance (fit with 320 cannons of course). I have also built a replica of Icecrown Citadel from World of Warcraft in Minecraft. I’m having a hard time finding my old screenshots of them right now, but if I stumble upon them I’ll be sure to upload them.
Intentional Emergence in the Portal Series:
I am going to assume that most people reading this will have played portal or have at least seen how it works. The goal is simple. Start at the beginning of the course and get to the end with the use of portal physics. They give you a simple set of tools, just a portal gun and sometimes some objects laying around to make use of. Each course is a concrete set of puzzles that typically has one or very few ways to solve it. This makes me think of intentional emergence because the developer is forcing the player to do one specific thing to get to the other side. The players aren’t running around finding other random ways to have fun, they are set in a path and completely set on one goal.