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Article: "Games should be dumb and unfair."

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by AndrewGrayGames, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. AndrewGrayGames


    Nov 19, 2009
    The Original Indie Dev: 22 games in 22 years

    I read this, and found the article to be interesting. Jeff Vogel was one of the first indie devs back in the day. He exclusively writes RPGs. His insights into what makes games good really surprised me, but I think it makes sense in a weird way.

    His example of the 'Quickfire' spell was one such example. You cast it, it expands, you get away from it and give it a few minutes to work and it clears out a dungeon for you. I can't think of anyone on these forums that would suggest such an ability, but apparently his players really loved it. He likened it (indirectly) to the Creepers in Minecraft, which are sort of the same thing, just the other way 'round.

    What do you all think?
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  2. iDontLikeHipsters


    Mar 24, 2014
    I dunno, my opinion on video games is extremely controversial on the internet because it contradicts the philosophy of both hardcore and casual gamers. I think that GOOD game design is when the game makes you feel stupid, and not when you feel like the game is stupid. It's almost analogous to the difference between Trolls and Bullies.

    When you get stuck on a puzzle, and it turns out that you put in one of the wrong pieces, that's the game trolling you. When it turns out that the last piece of the puzzle was stuffed inside a pigeon's butt and then that pigeon was buried 3 feet under your living room, that's when the game becomes unfair and starts being a bully.

    I feel like Ocarina of Time had this problem with its "puzzles". One example that comes to mind is when you have to throw a chicken on Talon to wake him up, even though none of your circumstances would lead you to this conclusion. (Now, I'm going to go ahead and lock myself up so I don't have to worry about being assassinated)

    The point is, games ARE supposed to be difficult. Heck, if you want, make your NPC's kill me in one hit with super fast swinging weapons. All I ask in return is that my character can dodge fast enough, cancel his own attacks, and control smoothly.
  3. RockoDyne


    Apr 10, 2014
    It's at least not common form these days to make the player powerful. It's more likely to be something only enemies can do if baited in just the right way.

    Making the player powerful is a bit of a balancing act between players going "holy F***! that's awesome!" and "lather, rinse, repeat." The last thing you want is to have players realize what their strategy is going to be for the rest of the game.
  4. Kiwasi


    Dec 5, 2013
    I like it, its kind of refreshing. After all the psychoanalysis that so often gets bandied around, a developer saying "I did what I felt like doing" is great.
  5. BrandyStarbrite


    Aug 4, 2013
    Yes! :D
  6. GarBenjamin


    Dec 26, 2013
    I think @BoredMormon hit the nail on the head. My biggest takeaway from the interview is that, as is so often the case with success, Jeff did what he wanted to do. He made the kind of games he wanted to play and didn't get bogged down in game design "right and wrong" and other mumble jumble.

    I see it like this basically... if everyone is following the same set of game design guidelines then all games are going to feel the same more or less. Do your own thing because like in his case and others your games will stand out. They will be "something different". A lot of what we see as modern golden rules of game design are based on certain people's personal preferences (generally the people writing the "rules" and the people referring to them).
    Teila and DanSuperGP like this.
  7. Gigiwoo


    Mar 16, 2011
    Best quote ever?