In the coming days and weeks look for my games under Jmarconi415. I will also detail my thoughts on the different game types sploder offers and take you along my journey through meaningful game design and creation in the quest of a "good" game.
What makes a good game?
This was an interesting question to tackle, because the range of answers and personal preferences can play a significant role in defining a "good" game. Ultimately whether a game is good or not is up to the player. What we can do is quantify elements that are found in games that a majority find "good". After listening to Dr. Ruben Puentedura: podcast on good games (something I think everyone should listen to who has an interest in understanding game elements) I came away with a list of common "good game" elements. Check out his free podcast on itunes:
Let me explain what made a good game in my personal opinion before listening to Dr. Puentedura. Graphics, story, over the top set pieces, multilayer progression, freedom, and the right length of time. My ignorance however only took into account the generation of gaming I personally lived through. As I grew up, I also grew up as someone who enjoyed relaxing with games. Art work and intelligence crept in to my must haves. These ideas to me of what a good game was turned out to be shallow surface elements. I never thought game design and why I liked some games and not others. Usually the cheaper games looked cheaper and games that recieved great reviews were great. I never once thought, why is that so? Dr. Puentedura, and my Gaming and Education class have slowly peeled the onion back for me that gaming mechanics, design, and theoretic understandings matter just as much.
The first common core for "good" games center on the word "variety". Think about games that you consider "good". Now think about the variety that game had. Mario, Sonic, ZELDA, Metal Gear, Splinter Cell, ICO, God of War, Halo, minecraft all these games had an incredible amount of variety not only within themselves but within their industry and Genre as well. For this exact reason I feel that TITANFALL will be the new "variety" standard for next generation games. Another element is the right mix of difficulty and range of patterns. This can be included in the defining element variety as well. Now think of a game you considered bad. Were the reasons you felt it was bad because of sloppy game controls, repetitiveness, and a poor core game mechanic? When Xbox 360 started adding indie games in their Xbox arcade a lot of what was being produced fell victim to these problems. Games should feel fresh for the entire experience ,and gamers should feel the gains of power and skills as they progress as well. These are the types of elements I would like to focus on in my own creation. My major focus will be variety and a range of compelling challenges. My narrative will carry the "lesson" and the game play will deliver the lesson through action. The only way they can truly work together for a great experience is if I adhere to what makes a "good" game. Below you will find my likes and dislikes for various games found on sploder. I know hope to take all of this practice and critique with me on my own game development creation.
The first game I played on sploder in my quest to determine what game I would like to create was a top down space invaders type shooter. While there is no denying it was enjoyable, it did however lack the substance I would like to include in my own game. For high score enthusiasts and arcade players this type of game will satisfy your basic need to compete for time and high score. The game itself is straightforward and easy to pick up and play. The ease of operation within the game is something I did enjoy. For a wider audience this could lend itself to popularity. However, what I have come to take away as a "good" game asks the question is ease of play and high score enough? For my game I would like to include a lesson within the play and the ease of access this shooter allowed its players. As I play the other game type I hope to find this. I do understand the limitations of a drop and drag game builder but still hope to work with in the box, while challenging it's limitations to narrative and play.
Ease of play
Pick up and play
Addicting qualities around beating a time clock
Addicting qualities to beat high score
Lack of purpose
Lack of narrative
No call for a greater cause to play
No lesson or larger meaning to be pulled form it
This was a game I found that more represented what I would like to accomplish, just with an economics or larger lesson overtone. The design itself was friendly and the stop and read tutorial walk through was simple and handled introducing me to the game with ease. I liked the familiar "mario" feel. What I found that I decided was a must have for me, was the sound design. The game itself sounded great, which in return made it more of an "experience" . The gameplay echoed Mario but the coins really sold the emotion for me. The level designs were progressive and changed appropriately. If I could figure out how to add a Narrative and economic reason for the play to follow I may have what I'm looking for.
basic quick tutorial
pick up and go feel
a reason to play collect coins
No grand story
This is not the game for me. I wanted to learn towards an economics lesson plan and I would struggle heavily with making sense of that with this type of game design. While I'm sure it is possible for the creative ones, the limited time we have makes that impossible for me. I liked the challenge of this game, but the time limit seemed almost mean. Again the lack of a narrative is not my style, the "reason" behind playing for me at least needs to be more than beating a clock.
No reason behind the play that I could create
Lack of narrative
This is the game for me. I can incorporate a good narrative to drive game play and correlate economics easily for a reason to progress. I liked the ease of access to what is required of me. The design of the game itself was unforgiving. The ladders with nothing on the other side left me starting over again a lot. Also the sound effects were good, but music could have set the emotion and mood a little bit better. Over all I liked the "adventure aspect".
Possibility for deep narrative
Moves, left, right, up, and down, for a more play driven feel
Pick up and play
No music to set the mood
Level design made the game more difficult (maybe on purpose)
Could have had a engaging narrative
3D Mission Game:
I like the story aspect of this game alot. The cut scene and flight to the destination was a nice break up that helped make you feel like it was a large game. The controls were a little "wonky" but over all I wanted to save my dad and blow up the reactor. The shooting was fun and 3D environment was a great addition. There seems like a lot of potential for this style of game. For my own game however, I would like to take the cut scene and story elements and maybe drop the shooter element.
level design felt free
good multilayer possibility
story driven, even if just a little story
shooter aspect (for my own use)