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Archive for October, 2010

Subgames and Goals

Almost every game has one or more major overarching goal. In Magic, your eventual goal (most of the time) is to reduce your opponent from twenty life to zero. In Clue, you want to deduce the details of the murder before anybody else. In basketball, you want to end up with more points than the other team. (Or, if the state of the NBA is to be considered, take more half court jump shots than the other team – but I digress.)

Sure, there are some games that thrive in open, sandbox settings. You only need to look to the success of games like Grand Theft Auto to see a game with very few established goals that has been highly successful. However, even within games like that, there are still tons of goals. There’s a reason why games like GTA, World of Warcraft, and Minecraft have been wildly successful despite lacking firm structure. Why?

More on Drawbacks

A lot of good points were brought up in the replies to my last post on drawbacks. I delved too far into semantics and didn’t spend enough time nurturing what I really wanted to say. This post is going to look at drawbacks from the angle I should have focused more on in the first place.

The idea that “everything has a drawback” is something I put too much emphasis on in that post and ended up distracting from the main idea. Part of what I really wanted to get at is something Dom Camus got at with his reply. Here’s some of what Dom had to say:
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Having Fun: That Losing Feeling

How much fun a single design within a game is can be hard to figure out. A major obstacle is that often when you are winning something feels fun, but when you are losing that same thing can feel unfun. How do you come to a conclusion one way or another?

Let me use the Magic card I said was a design mistake in my Great Designer Search 2 essay as a good example.

Where’s the Drawback?

Let’s play a game. It’s called “which Magic cards have a drawback?”

Ready? Go!
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