Posts Tagged ‘games design


Second Meditation

Yeah, that was a hiatus. Time for a Second Meditation and it’s the biggest piece I’ve done written yet. The inspiration for this manifesto/rant came from reading a back-and-forth debate on the nature of New Games Journalism over a year ago. It occurred to me that neither side of the debate really grasped what NGJ was. Following this train of thought, I came to the conclusion that Kieron Gillen might not have known either. Fast forward a year and the Sony “Michael” advertising campaign has me a-thinking. That foetus of a NGJ rant is now a full-formed gaming philosophy theory. Like the first, this meditation is long and rambling, it tries to touch upon as many different features of the Theory as possible. In the end it reads more like a manifesto. Ho-hum!

The Existence of the Player Character

On this blog I’ve tried to ask questions that claw at the essential subject matter of games. From what we should properly understand as an RPG to what a definition of aesthetic beauty might be in relation to interactive art. Big questions, too much big to answer in the confines of a humble blog. But before we should even deal with them, there is one deeper question that needs to be asked (if not answered). The question is central to games writing; I argue that New Games Journalism should be properly understood as a mass positing of this question, holding it up as the most vital of all. The question is simply this: who(or what) is this phenomenon, the Player Character?

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Supertheory of Supereverything

Okay, here goes nothing. Games can tell stories, they can elicit responses, emotions, they can give us all sorts of experiences. There is no doubt games can include art and often do, but what about the games design itself, how does that manage to be artistic? How can the mechanics of a game themselves affect us, how can interactivity itself be used to affect us? Everyone has their own answer to this question, as far as I can see here is where we need to found a new (well, fairly new) discipline. The answer to those questions isn’t simple; the answer is an entire new field of study, an entire new subject to research. All games designers are always answering this question in their own way, there are whole disciplines actually contained in this larger one. While books have been written on the subject and it’s the theme of countless blogs, I’ve yet to see a truly compelling account of the new field of study as a whole. Setting aside theories on how to actually make games that can affect us, what are the different tools we have available, at the most abstract? What paradigms can we work within? I’ve come up with a list of things only games can do, the classic examples of what we can do with interactive media. There may well be some I’ve missed (hopefully!), though it is intended to be as all-encompassing as possible. Here we go!

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Designing Computer Games Is Hard

Snarky gaming article commenters are total bastards. I’m one of the worst bastards. Designing games is really, really hard! I encourage anyone that has ever ruthlessly criticised a game to actually sit down and plan step-by-step a game they think would be better, on any level. Its fucking difficult, we are such bastards to constantly deride these people (not that we should ever stop).

I’m in the midst of designing my first real game now (and by that I mean the first game I’ll finish), and even with heavy expectations I’m finding myself shocked at every step how fucking difficult it is. I can sum up the problem (or the demonic host of problems) designers face in one, ugly word:


Every single step of games design, and I mean EVERY step is a pain compromise. Any actual designers will be nodding their heads sagely at this point, I’m sure. Here is the problem folks, here is the reason All Games Are Shit ™:

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July 2018
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