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We understand game design so much better these days & we also don't

First post on the new forums. Something I thought about recently, and rambled about on social media. Feels like this is a good place to post it.

We live in an age of game design enlightenment, where more people than ever get game design, and also we don’t freaking (can I swear here?) get game design. We have fantastic philosophy videos on the topic, like Egoraptor’s Sequelitis, that are super insightful and also paradoxically terrible. It’s created this culture wherein we appreciate the subtleties of stage and enemy design, and also snarl at anything that dares deviate.

“Your game has great controls and thoughtful enemy placement? Cool, but your tutorial just tells me what buttons do what, and that’s bad.” Pardon me?

“Your game can be enjoyed many different ways, none game-breaking, but there’s too much talking in skippable cutscenes and that’s bad.” /groan

“Your game rewards resource management and positioning, but the world is too brown and isn’t colorful and that’s bad.” Screw that.

We’re so much more intelligent about thoughtful game design. We’re also dumber than we’ve ever been.

Follow-up activity: identify the games I was talking about in each quote. :wink:


Your third quote makes me think of Bruges. The game board is way too brown. One of the reasons why I don’t like playing it. But the gameplay is pretty solid and I do have fun. I just wish it had a nicer looking board.

This triggers me. Too often I hear horror stories about annoying NPCs that talk too much only to find that their dialogue is entirely skippable.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Now that we’ve developed the language to talk about game design, there’s this temptation to believe that with a little bit of education, you know all there is to know about the subject and can apply this new information you’ve just acquired.

It happens any time that someone is introduced to an epiphany, or at least it seems to happen then. You widen your view of the world so much that it feels like you’ve attained superiority. And that superiority, more than anything, is what’s creating this effect, I think.

(It’s a trend I’ve observed in the roleplaying game arena.)


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Hey, I get that reference!

“This game has a well-written story with memorable characters… but it doesn’t test my 1337 gamer skillz and also has no timer, 1/10.” -Me, when playing a RPG

Also applies to WaterD.

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Never played it. I was thinking of the Gears of War games, but I’m sure Bruges and you know what Ima look it up…

Okay, it’s brown. :wink: It’s got vibrancy though. That’s good, right?