The Clockwork Game Design Podcast: Episode 9 – Popular Games

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In today’s episode, I discuss many of the world’s most popular videogames and boardgames, and analyze them through a Clockwork Game Design lens. Titles like Tetris, Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear Solid, Super Mario Bros, as well as board games like Agricola and Android: Netrunner, and many more.

Definitely along the lines of a slightly more rambly episode, with less of a direct thesis statement than most episodes, but as I say in the episode – it’s an experiment. Let me know how it went in the comments!

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We Should Patch Our Games

I’ve been hearing more and more voices crying out against patching recently, and I wanted to unpack some of what people have said. I think this is one of the many designer-to-player communication issues that crops up in the games conversation, and so here is a designer trying to improve on(“patch”) that aspect, so that hopefully we can have better conversations in the future. Continue reading

Turtling

pic2A few weeks ago, I wrote an article called Videogames are Broken Toys. Its general thrust was that most videogames are fundamentally toys with a goal sorta slapped on. This both limits the “toy” aspect dramatically and leaves users instead with a thin, weak, unsupported goal.

In that article, I focused on the “preserving the toy” aspect, which I think developers really need to do for a lot of single-player adventure-y/sandbox-y types of things, like perhaps Grand Theft Auto or The Legend of Zelda. On the other hand, though, there are some videogames which are almost always played competitively: things like Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Outwitters, or fighting games.

The problem is that even these competitive videogames, all of which do qualify as “games” by my prescriptive definitions, are still operating on a mostly-toy foundation. They are loose, still footed too deeply in fantasy simulation, and allow for too much “play” overall. This results in a number of problems, but the most visibly apparent one is the problem of turtling. Continue reading