Archive for category Game Design
Early last year, on this month, Mass Effect 3 was released for the masses to consume, and consume we did. And I imagine most people were pretty satisfied with the bulk of the game, except for one teensy 10-minute long segment that for some ruined the game. The ending which only provided 3 different options, all of which were basically all the same except for a changed color palate.
My oh my was the outrage great. Across every and all gaming boards on the internet people kicked and screamed over the ending. Petitions were being signed, lawsuits were being threatened, co-founders were leaving out of frustration and the anger of passionate people was showing. In the end, Bioware added a proper epilogue to please those who felt robbed. Was the backlash a bit excessive? Probably. But the ending controversy lends itself to some very important lessons that any developer can learn from. Let’s dive right in.
And remember people, GAME-RUINING SPOILERS AHOY.
Banjo-Kazooie was the first game I ever played. I remember my mother played it and she loved it. As a small child, no older than 5, I managed to delete her file at the final boss, Gruntilda.
She’s never played it since.
But a while later, when I started making sense of this insane world, I tried it out. It was, to understate it, amazing. My feeble little mind was completely blown. There we no remnants of my brain to be seen. And because I enjoyed it so much, I have came back to it every couple of years, only to be reminded of that sense I had when I first played it. Even without my nostalgia-goggles on, I can definitely say it is one of the best games ever created, and this is why you should play it.
Chances are, if you’re in game design, you know all of what I’m about to say. If you’re in a Game Design course in a college, you’ve also heard this lecture. But I feel a lot of people don’t know why Super Mario Bros. is so awesome. It’s not because it had a BUTT-TON of levels at the time, not the fact that for many it was the first game they had been exposed to, but for one reason. World 1-1. It’s the best tutorial anyone could possibly make, because of a few key things that I’ll draw together at the end of this piece But in the meantime, let’s act like someone who’s never played a video game before, and let’s take that person’s journey through World 1-1.
Alright, Super Mario Bros.!
First up, a disclaimer, This won’t be bashing up on Notch, and I know this topic and tweet is old and crusty, but it still provides a jumping off point for today’s topic: linearity.
Waaaaay back in April last year, Notch tweeted (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Making your game linear is artistic suicide.” Now, there are a lot of ways you could interpret it, but for my purposes here, I’ll say that he doesn’t like linearity and that it destroys any artistic value the game had. Notch, I think you’re a cool guy, but perhaps you should think before you tweet, not only for you, but for you to not dupe budding game designers into thinking in your ways. Linearity is not “artistic suicide”. Read the rest of this entry »
I want you to look at the two screens of the games to the left. The top is Civilization V, and the bottom is Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Now, what’s the difference between the two? No, it’s not that they’re completely different genres.
It’s that one changes from game to game, and the other doesn’t. “OH BOY” you say, another blog that bashes CoD. You tell me I’m beating a dead horse. And maybe I’m am. But let me clarify before I continue with the rest of this post:
I do not hate CoD. I actually think it absolutely nails the feel of a fast paced FPS. The camera controls and multiplayer are virtually unparalleled in the genre. (And don’t you dare compare it to CS. It’s a completely different game.) I only think the way they iterate on their games could be improved.
So, with that said, we can continue. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently bought Sequence during the Steam Winter Sale. It seemed like it had a good concept behind it, a multitasking rhythm RPG, essentially. And so I played it for a little while. The tutorial was okay at best, and then I got into the actual game. The first couple battles were enjoyable, I’ll give it that, but shortly after, I got a little irritated. I was playing the same things over and over and over again. Read the rest of this entry »