The ability to destroy things in computer games has always fascinated me. From the early commodore 64 game, where buildings could be destroyed with rockets to the first person shooters in which targets are not only monsters or humans but all kind of things that blow up.
A 1983 Commodore 64 game: Safe New York. The player is supposed to protect the city from alien invaders, but besides killing the aliens the shots are also capable of damaging the skyscrapers. Out of curiosity, I decided to completely destroy New York… (video)
The latest game from THQ (a sequel to Red Faction 1) features real physics that makes buildings tumble down naturally. The programmers introduced stress points and the program calculates real world structural properties. Designing the in-game buildings has thus become more like the real deal. Everything had to be architectural correct for the buildings to stay up. But once they come down, it’s absolutely cool.