Game design essays
September 23, 2005 7:26 AM   Subscribe

A whole bunch of great game design essays.
posted by Tlogmer (13 comments total)
this essay on women and gaming was rather stupid. He's not profiling "women" as much as he is profiling "people who don't like video games".

He's basing his entire thesis on an informal poll with a sample size n = 2, and no comparison with men who also don't play video games.

It seems like this happens a lot. A guy asks one or two women what they think about video games, and suddenly they think they'll revolutionize the games market.

Also, I think any easy multiplayer game would fit the criteria for something these women would enjoy (like Worms, for example)
posted by delmoi at 8:04 AM on September 23, 2005

Well, he corrects himself if you read through the comments.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:13 AM on September 23, 2005

I agree with delmoi, I have seen quite a few games (Bomberman comes to mind) enjoyed by women and people who otherwise wouldn't play videogames. For whatever reason women don't seem to get into Half-Life or Rome: Total War for the same reason they don't watch the History channel. I think quick games where the skill is largely innate rather than learned is where women find gaming interesting.

The best games, in my non-hardcore gamer opinion, are the ones that let you win. I don't like to be punished severly for a little mistake. I also don't like quick reloading every five minutes. I play games for enjoyment, and for me that shouldn't mean spending 8 hours and several days on to get level 3. This is why Mario was so universally popular and a lot of modern games are not. It'd be interesting to see what percentage of people cheat in games. I always run into the "I ran out of ammunition? That gun was so cool though" and put in an ammo cheat. Or if I find a level just boring and frusterating I'll put it into God mode and just fly past. I know many people abhor such behavior, but I have a feeling it's a lot more common than people realize.
posted by geoff. at 8:15 AM on September 23, 2005

my girlfriend hated video games until I introduced her to Wario Ware.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:20 AM on September 23, 2005

My wife loves Orsinal , Bubble Bees in particular, and enjoys the arcade shooters where you get to hold guns.
posted by srboisvert at 8:33 AM on September 23, 2005

My wife hated games as well. Then I bought Lumines and I haven't seen my PSP since. Actually, I have played it a bit while she's at work. Recently I bought Burnout Legends and she took to it like a duck does to water.

I've released a monster.
posted by lyam at 8:34 AM on September 23, 2005

Female here, and video game fuh-reek. I just know I'm going to eventually end up like that old lady in the video that was linked here a few weeks ago - the video game-playing grandma. I don't like "war games", but I am a freak for Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda type games, which do feature an awful lot of killing. But mostly killing creatures and monsters, not people.

I like the whole armor and weapons upgrading thing, and going around slaying stuff. But I like a really good (read: mushy love story or plot steeped in historical context) backstory to accompany my maniacal killing sprees. I like to know that I'm shedding blood for a good cause, which means I'm either saving a princess (it's unbelievable how often princesses need to saved from something) or keeping the world from being overtaken or annihilated.
posted by iconomy at 8:55 AM on September 23, 2005

Bloody hell. I knew that second link would monopolize the discussion -- yes, it's stupid; yes, I shouldn't have posted it. Doesn't anyone want to talk about the others?
posted by Tlogmer at 3:39 PM on September 23, 2005

No Tlogmer, I just want to talk about the second link. I actually think he has some good points there.

However, the first link does have something interesting to say about the KISS principle (rock and rolling all night and parting every day), oh wait, no the other KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid).
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:55 PM on September 23, 2005

I think his "Movie Theater Games" idea is especially brilliant. Since theaters seem determined to bash us over the head with ads before the movie starts, I'd at least like to have something to do.

I absolutely love Lost Garden. Danc's posts are well-written and full of good ideas. I think it should be required reading for all game designers. Then maybe we'd get more games that are actually *fun*.
posted by Sibrax at 5:48 PM on September 23, 2005

Great post, thanks. I'll be working my way through the archives for weeks. This sort of discovery is exactly why I read Metafilter.

"Movie Theatre Games" puts me in mind of a distributed control game described by Kevin Kelly in "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control." The game was essentially Pong but played by 500 people simultaneously - 250 to a team. By means of colored, hand-held flags (one side red, one side green), each player on a team could vote on whether the paddle should move up or down on the screen. A computer controlled video system tabulated the "votes" (180 green vs. 70 red, I'll move the paddle up) in real time. Surprisingly, the crowd very quickly became adept at playing - demonstrating some larger purpose that I've since forgotten.
posted by zanni at 11:00 PM on September 23, 2005

The "Stupidest Game" philosophy is pure gold. Consider all the classic platformers and you can see this rockbed of simplicity shining through.
posted by cortex at 9:02 AM on September 24, 2005

Great post! Shame that the shittiest ones are the ones that get the most comments. The movie theater one was particularly brilliant.
posted by klangklangston at 4:50 PM on September 24, 2005

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