Category Archives: Game Design
I’m not a particular fan of MOBA games. I’ve tried at different points in time: League of Legends, Dota 2, and Guardians of Middle-Earth, neither have really grabbed me. So when about a year ago I got into Awesomenauts, which I have from a bundle, I did not expect to get grabbed by it as well. By the time of writing this post I have more than 250 hours in the game.
This made me wonder: is it just a game-specific thing, i.e. I happened to like Awesomenauts but not other MOBA games, or did Awesomenauts act as a better entrance point for the genre? So if I replay other MOBA titles, will I find more enjoyment in them? This has interested me also because I have never really experienced a situation where I didn’t really like any game I tried of a particular genre, and then a game made me appreciate those more. And yet we as developers tend to talk a lot about that – creating games that could act as entry points for titles of a similar kind.
(Post full of spoilers)
When I first played Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season One, back when it was released, it was an amazing experience. I wasn’t familiar with The Walking Dead franchise at all then, so it was just the game, and after every episode I’d feel like shit. Really depressed. And would get back into it as soon as the next episode was released. And I knew that something awful would happen again, that there’s no way the series is gonna end in a good way, but still had this damn hope that everything is going to be alright. And then that hope would get obliterated. And I’d get back for more. And with the release of the third season I decided to replay this, and the journey was as emotional as it was on the first run, even though I knew most of the things that would happen.
Can we just talk about how amazing Valiant Hearts is? It’s absolutely freaking amazing. I mean, just on an overall design level, it somehow manages to take World War I setting, puzzle adventure gameplay, cartoon stylistic, semi-gibberish voices in gameplay, heroic ‘hell yeah’ war moments, dramatic war moments, humanizing both sides of war moments, musical vehicle levels, and put it all together in a way that works and makes you go through one hell of an emotional ride. It’s so hard not to tear up. And the dog. Probably one of the best game dogs ever. But it’s not the dog I’m going to talk about. I’m going to discuss one of the last levels in the game – Chemin des Dames, and how it drives you to the edge.
When choosing what to write about Guacamelee!, it is natural to think of the combat system or the Metroidvania-style progression as the topics. I mean… they’re just SO well designed. Seriously, Guacamelee is a great benchmark and case study when it comes to those two things. It’s awesome. Go play it. Because what I want to discuss in this post is not one of those topics. I want to talk about the ending. Spoilers, obviously.
UI in games has many functions and purposes. From just being something that draws players in because it’s usually the first thing they see, to providing the most comfortable means to do a particular action. One of pretty big functions UI can perform is retention. And I’m going to talk about why this is important on the example of the game AaaaAAAaaaAAA!!! for the Awesome.
Most of you have probably heard about the closing of four Ubisoft free-to-play games: The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, EndWar Online, Ghost Recon Phantoms and Might & Magic: Duel of Champions. All these games, Epic Loot especially, were something that I was interested in trying at some point. So with limited time left, I finally did. And it inspired me to talk about the topic of introductory experience in free-to-play games.
Welcome back to this 2-part post series about the Hero’s Journey. In this post, I’m going to talk about the game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and how Vogler’s rework of Campbell’s structure is applied to it. Please note that I’ll reference the previous post about Journey a lot, so please read it beforehand 🙂 That said, let’s continue.
The Hero’s Journey is a narrative structure first described by Joseph Campbell in The Hero With A Thousand Faces, and later refined for modern age by Christopher Vogler in The Writer’s Journey. Campbell noticed and described patterns in our myths and stories, of the hero/heroine leaving their ordinary world to go onto adventure, and after going through trials and crises, coming back home a transformed person.
It’s a very archetypal structure that one can notice in many stories: The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and thousands upon thousands of other works, including games. And I think why we as people are intrinsically drawn to this sort of narrative structure, is essentially because it’s about striding to a goal, facing challenges and getting to the lowest point upon the way, but eventually overcoming them and becoming a better person as a result. It’s what we encounter and go through in our daily lives, even though we might not realize it at first.
A few years ago, I played Badland on mobile by my fiancee’s recommendation, and I had tons of fun – it’s a great game. Beautiful art, simple controls yet challenging levels, and when you play it you really get into the state of flow as you try to make perfect runs. So I was really curious when I learned that the game would get a console/PC port, titled ‘Game of the Year Edition’. And thanks to it appearing among the PSN+ games, I got to try the port out.
So this is going to be my last Assassin’s Creed blog-post for a considerable while. I think I will write about the movie when it comes out, but don’t expect to see any Assassin’s Creed content until the release of the next big console title. That said, there will be articles about other games (so keep checking my site if you’re interested in it!), and this post is going to be a big one. I am very fond of the Assassin’s Creed series, as you probably have guessed. I’ve been interested in it ever since I saw its reveal in 2006. So what I’m going to say might raise eyebrows, WTFs, and other confusion among the fan community, but I think it’s a topic that should be discussed. Assassin’s Creed is not, and has never been, a social stealth game or series.