Joined: 12 Apr 2006
|Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:33 am Post subject: on Patrick Alexendar's Dessgeega interview and social gaming
|So as mentioned in another thread...
(and at risk of being a little insular "NGJ" world thing)
|Patrick: I suppose, stretching that idea a little further, it’s appropriate that a two-player game about a relationship should have no ‘computer player’; no single-player mode, to emphasise that there are certain challenges, and certain kinds of enjoyment, that can only be had with two people.
Dessgeega: yes. i think we’re sorely lacking in two-player-only games. everyone’s designing for this hypothetical player who has no friends.
Interesting. I sometimes have liked coding up 2 player only, symmetrical games, (InterGalactic SpaceMan BlastFest is the one that comes to mind) but less because of some social mandate and more because computer AI is hard to do. (This is one thing that put Mario Party way ahead of certain early clones like that South Park one; the latter had some interesting games but playing with fewer players just had, say, two people jamming on what were clearly meant to be a 4 player minigames. Mario Party is an interesting study in writing decent AIs for a variety of games, that can scale up and down in intelligence)
There tends to be a solitary nature to videogames as a hobby; this is changing but is still true. It's tough to have someone around who shares your interest at that moment, or your skill level... and as a designer it can be bad as well, since the process of coding up a game can be so time consuming and demand such focus for so long.
And maybe that applies more to head to head and symmetrical games. Co-op games help that (play through the original SNES DK Country with an interested non-gamer) or the Snake/Apple thing avoids it through blatant asymmetry.
|if super mario bros. began with mario bragging about what an unstoppable goomba killer he was and then the player immediately steered him to his death in a pit, the player would be playing against the character the authors had written.
it’s important to leave room in the role for the player to occupy.
I dunno. Is Mario that much more than what he does? I think SMB is more about a microcosm than a character. Early Mario had some definition, like the infamous mustache... but it doesn't feel like the player was self-inserting, so much as it just wasn't that important.
|Super Mario Bros. didn’t have a tutorial – it just had the first level, which serves the same purpose but doesn’t feel like a lecture." |
It's tough to figure out absolutes from my own subjective experience with the game, but for me SMB was the game you watched other people play to get a feel for how it worked, and then tried yourself. By that point the mechanics are simplified enough that it's less about "this is how to do it" than "this is a bit trickier than it looks".
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