Monday, November 1, 2010

Fading Spell

Today, I enjoyed a Kotaku article about games tricking us into doing things we loathe, not because of the perspective on how games are invading our day to day life, but because I think as more and more of these observations appear, the more it reveals that at the heart of most games is gameplay we wouldn't spend much time with were it not for the addictive qualities added by designers.

On a similar note, Elias sent me a link to a Jonathan Blow talk that emphasizes the same point. In the talk, he might come across as overstating it, but listening carefully and thinking hard about his concessions, I believe there is crossover about my feelings on game design. That said, I find myself more forgiving of the ways games games like WoW or Diablo still offer something more than addiction, even if the balance is out of whack. Sometimes the power fantasy a game like Halo provides is alone a worthwhile reason to dive into a game.

But I've been weirded out in applying the same observations to Nintendo games. They share an overly predictable formula of addictive gameplay with admittedly solid gameplay, and only the lightest touch of story. About the only emotions I feel playing a Nintendo game is a desire to research gameplay, whatever tiny element the story might bring to life, and OCD-pricking gameplay, which is usually entangled with the word "fun." I'm playing Kirby right now -- very close to "100 percenting" everything -- and it certainly isn't breaking the mold. Unfortunately, I find that I associate OCD with "fun" less and less.



    have you seen that? even more scary; the idea that these little games will take over everything. Social Psychology has studied intrinsic vs extrensic motivation, and if you've shifted something from intrinsic to extrinsic and the extrinsic rewards stop you stop doing it or stop taking pleasure in it

  2. I missed this comment, and its been awhile since I enjoyed the video. I think he's dead on that that games will invade every part of our life, and I also think it'll inoculate people to those devices in games to a degree, helping other gaming emotions be more important to the industry than they are now.

    My guess is that the days of huge innovative games will continue to wane, however, and that innovation will only make it into big event games after they've been thoroughly explored in less-expensive indie production.