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Game Design

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Its interesting, a representative of a casual publisher told me earlier in the sumbission process that they liked to see a strategic dimension in their prospective titles. Typically casual play has been about tactical, if potentially deep, styles of interaction. I'm wondering if a strategic macro-game involving abstracted social dynamics is the next big ticket - rather than tactical social dynamics, which are considerably harder and as yet intimidating to casual players (see Facade).

Casual publishers may need a strategic dimension to appeal to game-literate players in order to have them act as evangelists to spread the game to the wider audience.

Or, they may be confusing their own play needs with the needs of their audience. ;)

Certainly, PopCap's successes contain no strategic elements at all, as far as I can tell.

Yeah, but I've got a feeling it could make a come back, the trick is to design the system space to be somewhat paristaltic, so the player can improve their situation after following a poor strategy much more readily than the can optimize a given strategy. For instance, apologizing to people can get you back to about nuetral, while building a deep relationship takes time and consistent behavior.

I think by marrying strategic play with abstract social verbs, which are nesting a more visceral, tactical micro-game, we can bring the casual audience strategy that means something.

Just one factual error: Deus Ex is one of the best selling games for both PC and Mac. It was the sequel, which was both a critical and commercial failure, that killed the franchise. The series was revived a month or so ago, however.

Matt: I appreciate the fact check, but I think you're mistaken. The only sales figures I have for Deus Ex are from here and show that it only sold about half a million units. That's a long way shy of being a best selling PC game.

If you're taking this data from the Wikipedia page, it's an error: citation 5 is an article about best selling games, but Deus Ex is *not* in the list of best selling games, but in an earlier list of well known games shown for demonstration purposes. Compare Final Fantasy VII at 7.8 million and Pokemon at 8 million in the later list and we can see a big discrepency.

Deus Ex is beloved by its fans, but it experienced only modest sales figures.

If you have any other data about its sales, I'd love to know a more precise figure, but it does not appear to have been a best selling PC game by any stretch of the imagination.


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