Friday, July 30, 2010

Dimensional conflict: diversion vs. expression

While I mentioned in Three-dimensional games that games with the greatest magnitude in all three dimensions will be considered the best, this isn't to say that dimensions won't occasionally come into conflict with each other.  In other words, it is possible that attempting to increase the magnitude along one axis will decrease the magnitude along another axis.

I want to focus on a specific conflict that can arise when trying to maximize the magnitude along every dimension: the conflict between the demand of diversion to fill time and the demand of expression to reduce the time filled.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A worthy opponent

The video game universe is awash in heroes, but the noteworthy villains could likely be counted on two generous hands.  Often, the "main villain"--the hero's true adversary--feels more like an endnote than a palpable force in games.  Players rarely form a connection to their characters' ostensible opponent, most likely because they can recognize that the villain of the story is not their opponent.  Rather, villains are mostly MacGuffins--merely excuses to "go on the quest" or create a wake of corpses behind the titular character.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Difficulty: Slow it down, don't dumb it down

Sitting down to play Super Smash Bros. for the first time is an overwhelming proposition for the average adult.  The game is a flurry of action, a camera moves in and out constantly, and the winner appears to be randomly chosen at first.  To top it all off, all characters start out at 0% (you're not told of what), a percentage that is increased every time they are hit.  Without instruction, most adults would give up on this game fairly quick, resigned to the fact that it's something they'll never get.