Hello all, as you may have noticed from Dyl’s post, we’re back. I’ve had my hands full with Tea-Powered Games recently. If you haven’t checked us out yet, go see if we are your cup of tea.
Sorry, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t at least mention it, but I think we have some exciting stuff brewing for anybody who wants to see games tell stories in new and interesting ways. With the shameless plug out of the way, let’s talk about a game you might know nothing about: Democracy 3.
I have a confession to make: I’m a long time Zelda fan, but lately I’m less likely to pick up and be impressed by a new Zelda title. It’s not that I think the overall quality has gone down – probably the reverse – I’ve just changed as a consumer and feel like I’m no longer the target audience. Rather than ignore this feeling or sweep it under a proverbial rug, I’d like to take this opportunity to deconstruct it, and hopefully come out the other end of this post with a better understanding of what I hope I like about A Link Between Worlds.
This week I want to discuss something a bit more specific and mechanical: the clothing in Pokémon X/Y, and how it ultimately relates to engaging the player. Picking out a character’s clothing is the kind of thing which shows up in various games, but it’s not as simple as putting in extra art assets and telling the player to have at it. Here’s why clothes don’t just make the (wo)man, they can make the game too.
It’s been a while since I wrote WIHILAFinal Fantasy 14:A RealmReborn, and those articles are not a prerequisite for this one (but you’re welcome to go have a read anyways if you haven’t yet). Now that I’ve spent some time (understatement) playing the final release , I’d like to draw some lessons about basic mechanical system design from what has easily been the most engaging part of this game: the crafting.
In honour of our new series, Playing with Aesthetics, and with a new Pokémon game approaching, I’d like to take this opportunity to dredge up the topic of Core Aesthetics again, and use it as a lens on the design of Pokémon games (and the upcoming Pokemon X/Y). I believe that a lot can be learned about the broad appeal of Pokémon games by examining how it covers many different core aesthetics. Through iteration and improvement over its history, the Pokémon games have kept many core game elements constant. Instead of constantly changing or over-developing, the game has steadily spread to reach many more aesthetics than the average game can.
Hi everyone! Des and I are excited to introduce a new column that we are going to be starting up called Playing With Aesthetics! A little while back, Des wrote a piece touching on the MDA framework which both of us find really interesting; it’s a great way to look at games. We have not seen much out there that tries to use this lens to categorically database games, so we are taking up the task! Continue reading →
Here in the WILA posts, I oscillate between picking out a single game mechanic and elaborating on its many design benefits, and highlighting a single theme or goal of a game’s design and picking out the design choices which serve that theme or goal in the game. For Dragon’s Crown, I’d like to do more of the latter and talk about how the game packs itself full of story (of the flavorful characters, locations and histories kind) without stopping the action.
But first, a generally non-controversial assertion: players like playing.
Dragon’s Crown is Vanillaware’s latest masterpiece, and I plan to lose myself in it for many hours. It is an Action Beat ‘em-up style game, self-described as ‘Swords, Dungeons, Sorcery, Dragons’ with ‘gamemaster-style storytelling’. From Vanillaware’s past work (Odin Sphere, Grim Grimoire, Muramasa) I know to expect a beautiful, solidly-designed game.
[Note from Destina: We’ve got a special guest writer this week – Florencia Minuzzi from teawithflo.com. She also happens to be my partner in a new game design venture. As a writer, I felt she was more qualified to step up and talk about today’s topic: creating resonance between the player and the main character of a narrative game. Nothing is really spoiled beyond the first few minutes of the game, but if you prefer to play knowing nothing, then you’ve been warned. I’ll leave the rest to her.]
Hey everybody, apologies for the break, but vacations happen from time to time. I’m back, so let’s get started. While on holiday, I blazed through Shin Megami Tensei IV. I had a few things in mind to write about it, but when I read Dyl’s post last week I knew it was a good opportunity to follow up on theme.
While discussing the post last week with my brother, I hit upon the argument multiple times that some of his comments reflect something about him personally, but are also signs that the mechanic as a whole is a bit broken. By ‘the mechanic’ I mean money acquisition and purchasing of resources in most RPGs, and by ‘broken’ I mean that it ultimately just wasn’t accomplishing much in the game to justify its use as a mechanic. I don’t think I’m alone in this assessment, but instead of dwelling on the reasons for this, I would rather spend my words here focusing on how I think Shin Megami Tensei IV quietly improved on the standard.