The game-discourse is entering a new arena. “Games as Art” seems to be one of the emergent topics at the moment, that is growing into relevance. You eventually have heard of the Project Horseshoe conference. They - in own words - address the “game-designers hardest problems.” At Gamasutra is a longer wrap-off of some of their insights about what is making games as art hard. They do not only look at the progress of making a game itself, but also take a look on the underlying context, where games appear and are played. Or about the approach of an artists versus game designer.
March 29, 2009 http://gamedesignscrapbook.blogspot.com/2009/03/xbox360-demo-impressions.html
A company with the name NeuroFocus could play a role in the flow-testing of games. Instead of filling out questionnaires, what in the game is rewarding or boring could be just measured with brainwave-technology. I even could imagine real-time statistics and nice visualisation about the things, that drive gameplay. Gamasutra writes about, what packages the company will offer. Quite a lot:
“The NGame suite includes NSequels, which is designed to identify core game elements that build into a franchise; NTarget, which offers user group analysis, design, implementation, and marketing recommendations; NeuroNet, which is geared for multi-player and social gaming; and TGA (Total Gamer experience), which measures multi-sensory gaming effectiveness. NGame also offers NPlatform Analysis; NLevels, which identifies “NeuroFrustrators/NeuroRewards” in games, and GCA (Game Compressions Analysis), an automated selection of the most powerful neurological components in a game.”
Top reading of the day is the sum-up of 2D-boys / Polytron’s speech at the Indie Games Summit over at Offworld, about successful hints, to market your game effectively. Well, the thoughts are neat, but not revolutionary. Best figure to start the day comes from Kyle Gabler:
Valve’s Left 4 Dead marketing budget was $10 million, Spore’s $35 million (compared to its $50 million development budget) and Wii Fit’s was $40 million, a figure Gabler reckoned could buy 21,917 indie devs a burrito every day for a year.
I left your thoughts with that beautiful new trailer of the Fez-game from Polytron. Also note the beautiful music and colors!
Ok, guys and girls. Bad Hint is a small experimental game-exploration from Qixen-P design studio with a soundtrack delivered by favorite chip-artist Goto80. And they like it experimental. You are a “little thought” that has to escape the “playful mind”. In order to do so, you can move, jump, pickup objects and use them, using the key A. It’s been a while, since I was confronted with experimental and exploratory gameplay and design as well (the website from the Qixen-People is just as cryptic), but it seems, that I totally suck at this game, not even getting the bright pink star. Any (bad) hints anyone?
March 25, 2009 http://gamedesignscrapbook.blogspot.com/2009/03/closing-thoughts-mass-effect.html
Lately I came upon an interesting casual-gaming site, called the “GamesButler“. Well, what is so interesting upon this site? Basically it serves free games like most other similar sites. But the games they have online are more focused on storytelling and graphics, than just pure “casual gameplay” at its core. Not all games there have for exactly this reason a heavy replay-value or are addictive (some are). But if you seek for inspiration or just want to see casual games, that are a little bit different, this is your starting place. Give GamesButler a try.
The NES-Emulator FCEUX got an interesting feature, that I did not seen anywhere else. With drag and drop you are able to move single objects and sprites where you want the to be. Oh lord! Never have to mess around with screaming nerves on that ugly unfair area, you are unable to solve - and you always loose all of your remaining lives. Want to get rid of this stinking enemy? Just throw that guy into the wall!
Somehow this feature also adds a layer of meta-gaming into the NES-games. Literally re-play your old and favourite games. Hm… like an level editor in the fly. Or new multiplayer-modes: one on mouse, the other on joypad/keyboard. Really interesting thing. Have to mess around with it.
UPDATE: Thanks Peter for putting the link to THAT one. The Open Emu looks like it wants to be the most sophisticated emulator around. Also with lots of experimental type of functionality, that will make exploring games fun. Just look at this screenie of the upcoming stuff:
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