Monday, January 16, 2017

game design ala nintendo

Kottke had a post about Nintendo's game design which featured two videos.

This is the one that resonated more deeply for me:

I'm bummed I don't make many microgames any more, but when I did, they followed that idea of "make a new mechanic", have some fun with it. (I used to do Glorious Trainwrecks' two hour game jams, where you'd make the best worst game you could in 2 hours, and then hop online and play what everyone else made as well - a new fun mechanic was about all I could hope for. You can see some of the best of results on my game page (currently my 2015 advent calendar) and then a pile of other stuff here)

There should never be Game Police saying what games can and can't or should and shouldn't be, or are or aren't, but I do think you can make an argument that video games as a medium are especially interesting when they're playing to their unique strengths - things you can't easily do in other media, like for example making "physically" interactive microworlds. Lots of formats can tell stories, many of them can even bring the reader/viewer into the story.... (and video games always have to deal with "ludonarrative dissonance, where what the player wants to do may or may not make sense with what the character wants to do). And many, many types of games lets you address strategic fun, and even model their own little "worlds" in the process. But making an entertaining interactive/reactive new reality... that came first for games, and is where my focus tends to brought.

The other video presented another Nintendo-ish view, and reminded me what my attempts at gamemaking sometimes lack:

 For me the most important quote was Miyamoto saying this:
I think that first is that a game needs a sense of accomplishment. And you have to have a sense that you've done something.
Challenge and accomplishment do bring a lot to a game. (Of course games have gotten a bit more friendly and forgiving over the years - sometimes I worry that reward time spent rather than skill built...)

I have mixed but mostly sad feelings about not making or playing games much these days. I have some friends that argue I've spent too much of my life with them already, and they serve as a distraction from the important things, and certainly some of the things I've been doing more of (especially playing in some street bands) has given me great rewards as well.

Sigh, being a grown up.

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