Drawing the Digital Line
Thought for Food

Play First, Learn Later

William Wilding's Casual Game Design blog has a wonderful piece on learning curves that I strongly recommend taking a look at. This is a pet topic of mine - it's a non-trivial issue in game design that doesn't recieve enough attention.

He argues (from the point of view of Casual game design) that the player wants to play the game, not learn the rules. With a possible and very specific exception (anyone for whom the Strategic Player archetype is dominant - i.e. players for whom complexity is a key draw), I completely agree, and certainly for games targeting a Casual audience, this tenet should be key!

Sloppy game design (what I call 'kitchen sink' design) throws in every idea it can think of in the hope that gameplay will arise out of chaos emergently. Sometimes it works. If you keep throwing money at it. Better to start with tight design to begin with, though. Thinking in terms of what the player must learn before they get to play is a great way to help keep things simple.


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"Sloppy game design (what I call 'kitchen sink' design) throws in every idea it can think of in the hope that gameplay will arise out of chaos emergently."

Is it just me, or is this god of war? I didn't see what was so good about the gameplay. What was everyone ranting about? It's basically final fight.

No doubt in my mind that God of War is a fancy scrolling beat em up.... Why is everyone raving? Because it's *incredibly* polished. And polish, like it or not, sells. (Polish like that is also incredibly expensive!)

As an aside, I don't believe God of War could ever pull in the really big sales figures because it's just too esoteric a genre (in my opinion).

Anyway, even if you and I were unimpressed, there hasn't been a decent scrolling beat em up for years and it's nice that some people really enjoyed themselves with this game. That's how I see it anyway. :)

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