Golden ages & game design

Thanks to Stargrace for pointing me at this post on Of Course I’ll Play It!

I wasn’t at GDC and didn’t hear the Paul Burnett lecture that Dusty Monk (author of Of Course I’ll Play It!) refers to, so I can’t comment directly on that. But from what I’ve read, the quick recap is that Burnett suggests that we all have a ‘golden age’ of gaming that influences our likes and dislikes. Simple enough.

Monk adds his own thoughts to this when he says:

No matter how utterly convinced you are of how fundamentally fun something is, there is always someone else whom is just as equally convinced it is the worst thing in the world. And no matter how absolutely terrible you think something is, there will always be people that think it’s the best thing in existence.

And that, to me, is a golden nugget and something I really need to keep in mind. I should print it out and paste it on the wall behind my monitor, for when I’m arguing with all these crazy kids (git out of my yard!) who think that games shouldn’t have levels or loot or travel times or obstacles or rats or fighting or whatever the next sacred cow they start tearing down is. (Bless ’em for their energy and constant thinking outside the box!)

The timing is kind of funny because I’ve been playing a certain game a lot, and wasn’t really enjoying it until I got out a pad and paper and started taking notes and planning out character development and stuff. And a few times I almost posted about it, but then didn’t really want to have to get into a big debate about how if a game forces you to take notes it must suck. Because I can see how people would think it would suck, and honestly I wouldn’t want to have to do it very often. But for me, for now, it’s kind of a neat feeling of nostalgia.

Sometimes I miss the days when there was *always* a pad of graph paper sitting next to the keyboard. It was as essentially a gaming tool as the monitor, really.

Anyway, thanks to Stargrace for pointing out the post! And I should ask Monk if he ever played Megawars III.

4 thoughts on “Golden ages & game design

  1. As one of those people who advocate things like no levels, less loot-centricity and a couple other things you mentioned, I’ll mention that my original stint into PC gaming was because of watching my friend’s dad oh so eloquently mapping out travel paths in a space sim game (forget the name).

    I was so very intrigued at a game that would require that much detail. He had graph paper maps and travel logs in a notebook. He did the same thing with Privateer (also my first glimpse at the game). I think that may be what started my fascination with actually being invested in a game instead of just playing it.

    Nowadays we have websites that collect all that data and display it for us, but I long for a game where I have to do that again. I suppose I could with any game out there, but I want to start fresh with a game that may actually be designed like that. *shrugs*

  2. Privateer, Star Control 2, Master of Orion/Magic, Myst and FFTactics have forever warped my game design mind. I *like* figuring stuff out and planning future moves.

  3. Elite was probably the first videogame where I’d take notes & try to make sense of where “witch-space” was etc. It was mainly down to one Christmas that I played like this – I now only note take etc for reviews or blog posts.

  4. I remember back in the day when playing Galaxies, I had a note book I used to keep track of my harvesters and factories. It got to the point that it felt like work and so I would take breaks from crafting to enjoy other parts of the game.

    But I liked what Monk said, because it’s true. I have a friend of mine who is slightly older than I am, but it seems that his taste in games, movies and television shows is pure rubbish, but then I’m sure he feels that same for me too!

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