Posts Tagged ‘Games’

GDC 2010 Thoughts

Posted: March 29, 2010 in Game Design, Games
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My GDC 2010 Impressions

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I have what I would consider a fairly typical group of gamer friends.  These guys have grown up on D&D, board games and table-top games.  We all love games and have our own relationship to them.  Something unusual happened over the last few game sessions.  We abandoned the game we all loved and respected for a shallower version of the same game.  Our sin was liking the experience more but we took so much joy in the fact that we were all on speaking terms by the end of the night.  I have so much respect for the game that brought us so much misery, that I had to take a deeper look.

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While looking into compulsion, I found that I couldn’t avoid looking directly at emotion.  The above picture is from Heavy Rain, a game where the creators are trying to introduce more emotion into games.  I must admit that I was skeptical for a long time and passed it off as artistic indulgence.   Something came along and changed my mind completely yet I haven’t played the game.  Emotion isn’t the sign of indulgence but perhaps the complete opposite in a medium rife with shallow emotional connections to simply sensational experiences.  While I do not speak with any authority on the subject, I am passionate about it and want to learn to do it right.

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Compulsion and fun

Posted: December 27, 2009 in Game Design, Games
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I’ve been doing some thinking about compulsion and the notion of fun.  Most people would admit that the goal of a game is to entertain, usually summed up in the word fun.  To have fun.  When building a game, we refer to the intangible ‘fun factor’ of a game.  We also talk about a game’s ‘stickiness’, i.e. it’s ability to have the players come back for more after they’ve left the game, or better yet, to stay in the game for extended periods of time.  For myself as a player, and other player’s i’ve talked to, a game’s stickiness is often involved in the fun.  A game that keeps me coming back, I naturally assume it’s because I enjoy it.  But is that really the case?

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Dominos, the tippy kind

Posted: July 1, 2009 in Uncategorized
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It seems to me that the version of dominos where you spend the whole afternoon standing these little blocks on end only to watch them topple over at the end of the day is a much overlooked game when trying to study game design. The multiplayer varient of matching dots is more likely to be looked at given the more sophisticated rule set. But dominos, the tippy kind, has a genius simplicity.

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Monk was walking through a mountain pass, enjoying the summer breeze and the blue skies above him. The wind felt good against his warm skin and the trees around him swayed creating a texture to the sounds of the day. Monk considered his stomach and began pondering how to prepare the fish he was going to catch when he heard the clinks and grunts of sword play.   They came from nearby, most likely, around the next bend. The draw of action and spectacle overcame his humility and desire inner piece, he was after all a monk in training.  Monk tightened his belt, drew up his robes to free his legs and threw a smirk on his face as he ran down the path towards the ensuing fight.
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Once upon a time, as a bright eyed and over eager developer, I thought I could make a hit game all on my own.  If I worked hard enough, learned all about every aspect, then I could make the bestest game in the whole world.  When someone wiser than me said “You need a great team to make a great game” I said to myself it was just a catch phrase and they just hadn’t seen how awesome I was.  I can’t even describe how wrong I was.  I mean, if there’s a bright centre of being right in the universe, then I was the thinker it’s furthest from.

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