An introdcution to a theoretical history of videogame design. This article works as a good intro to the upcoming Reverse Design: Super Mario World, explaining the historical context into which Super Mario World fits. It also deals with the rest of mainstream game design history, dividing it into three distinct periods. You can read more here.
The Forum's attempt to deconstruct all of the design decisions that make Chrono Trigger a classic game is now up! Chrono Trigger is a great game--a lot of people agree on that. But is Chrono Trigger still worthy of examination? We think so. More than a decade later we looked at it and saw some of the slyest, most ingenious craftsmanship in any game ever. Take a look. Also, we have an ebook version of the piece you should see. It's pretty; you can see previews here.
An attempt to reverse-engineer all of the design decisions that made Final Fantasy 6 a classic. There are eight pages in all, although page one will tell you all you need to know about the project. Page two deals with how to design (not just write) a game story. Page three is about how the designers balanced quests, story, and combat, and also about how those designers used an ingenious technique to make the game feel more artistically complete. Page four is about how the design team managed to make 14 characters, and make them all interesting. Page five is a Sociology of NPCs, in which a new form of irony, unique to videogames, emerges. Page six is a look at the design of the level-up system, and page seven a look at the design of the dungeons and how they're rather antithetical to the "set-piece" design era we live in today. Page eight is a summary, a best-of-design-lessons list, and a plea! Help us make more of these reverse designs.
How are free-to-play games like dating? Well, in a few ways, actually. Beer won't make them look any better (or will it), but if you really must know, check out the article. A humorous change of pace from last week's dusty old analysis.
Part one of the largest GDF feature ever---Acceleration Flow--is now up! This post attempts to explain why it's so fun to level up, culminating in a hypothesis of flow unique to level-up systems. The first half of the post explains what acceleration flow is, what it's like for the player experiencing it, and how players actually go about getting there. Read about the acceleration flow hypothesis.
Part two is now up as well, you can find the link at the end of part one or here, as well.
Boston's Videogame-themed unconference, Game Loop, came to Philly last weekend. A host of interesting sessions covered topics like "Brogrammers," Chinese Internet speakeasies, what qualifies as "cheap" difficulty, and a whole lot more.
May 13, 2011
Last weekend the Philadelphia chapter of the International Game Developer's association held a 45-hour development contest at the Greater Philadelphia Expo hall. No two teams were alike in what they made or how they made it. But all the teams were alike in why they were there. Find out why.
We have a sitemap and an explanation of our mission on the About Us page, for your reference. It goes into more detail on how everything around the site works.M
The essay that started it all. A response to Roger Ebert's claim (that he then withdrew) that games cannot be art, this essay shows how many videogames are art already. There's also a followup to that essay, "Narrative in Games," which talks about the way games are a unique form of art, with their own rules and artistic strengths. Both essays are great for gamers and would-be game designers.
The dictionary is up and running; have a look now, because this thing is going to get very big very quickly. All of the game design concepts from our critical reviews are immortalized here.
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