Part of the draw of games on social networks is that their asynchronous nature is highly inclusive. Friends on completely different schedules still have a sense of playing together, and essentially groups can participate just by showing up:
The average user belongs to more than one social networking site, but devotes the majority of time to only one. As such, users have different participatory rates, logging in to one social network every day, another every once in a while, and yet another, only if an e-mail beckons the user to come back.
These different participatory rates translate into different play patterns. Some players have limited time and need a game that can be played quickly whereas others are willing to spend hours on a game. In fact, depending on the day or the social networking site selected, the same user may exhibit different play patterns.
Glum Buster is a strange jewel. You will need a little time and patience to explore the world of this game. It is even hard to describe, what type of game it is. It contains elements of many different kinds of games: puzzle, adventure and a little shooting. Game-elements are crafted carefully, leaving a path of strangeness behind. One possible comparison would be eventually Leisure Suit Larry or the other old games from Sierra, because the overall goal of the game is to collect xxx of 275 points. The rest is up to you.
The game “Glum Buster” also seem to have a little bit of an interesting history. It took four years in the making. The developer Justin Leingang (aka CosMind) was only involved in a little community, foremost the EO-community, that always release extremely interesting indie-titles. About the game Justin says, that it is “a collection of my constant, thick-as-brick daydreams”. Can be simple as that. In an interview with GameSetWatch he said something really, really interesting:
“Glum Buster was primarily inspired by the initial play mechanics of the prototype that I built. From there, bizarre as it may sound, it was continually inspired by itself. I was constantly fueled by the development of each component - be it play mechanics and dynamics, graphics, sound effects, functionality, etc. As a result, inspiration begat inspiration. It was a pretty gratifying reciprocal process, really.”
Now this is a hard one. Because is it so radical. Nintendo continues with its most radical game design so far - the Wario Ware (please correct me on that one, if you know it better). It is a collection of mini, or better micro-games, that loosely connect into one big play. Or better playability.
The next thing, that can be seen on the horizon already, is WarioWare: Made in Ore. The game will be basically the same as Wario Ware, but multiplied with one more measure of new radical creation of content. Because, the user will be able to add own mini-games to the Wario Ware channel. The microgames can be created and customized with the Nintendo hardware and the editors, that come along. Nintendo is planning make some sort of online-shop named “Game Shop Ninte” available, where you can upload own levels, as well as download, share and remix things other users made. Also the best levels of the month should be picked. Now say what?
Enough theory. Here is some evidence.
Absolutely at the roots of Super Mario, with that spacial dash of microgames.
The Webzine Gamasutra released a great article on “what makes a game sticky and persuasive”. A recommended read for anyone making games. There is always time to think about this issues, and always new things to explore. One thing for example is this. Try to reach: “Familiarity, not Simplicity!”
Wait, what? Weekly open-source mini-games in Processing? This sounds fantastic, and surely it is. Every week the people from The Croopier release a fresh new game in Processing, also with the source-codes provided - free to share and build upon. If this were not cool enough, but there is also more: The mini-games are an exploration of the art of narratives in the new media format “games”. They take everyday situations and time we live in and try to make games out of it. I tested some of the games, and also the gameplay of the pieces is innovative and interesting. Feel free to get inspired by the project!
“The project itself is considered to be part of a research on new communication and narrative formats. We come from an art, technology and new media background, and the project may also be considered as an experimentation with the micro-game format.”
Nothing more to say.
Scene from “A Clockmaker’s Fantasy”
April 2, 2009 http://gamedesignscrapbook.blogspot.com/2009/04/excit-post-mortem-video.html
Pacman physics is a Pacman remake. Or better a deconstruction of the game. If we already talk of “games as art“, there could be nothing better than this game, to show some aspects, that are at least important to me.
Pacman Physics short after start of the game.
A Korean developer made this fun version of Pacman. He applied all static elements of the regular Pacman game with gravity. That means, that walls, pellets, ghosts and pacman itself will fall to the ground. The ghosts are still chasing pacman. Pacman still have to collect all pellets. One difference was made with the wonderpills. The do not make the ghosts eatable, but changes the direction of gravity. Good, that’s for the concepts. But… what about gameplay? What about fun?
I think that is the biggest drawback in the game. The concept, design and implementation is quite good. The result you will definitely consider as art. But for my very taste, art games also have to be fun at playing. That is what gaming is about, isn’t it? What do I need a game, that is fun to look at, but does not have a replay value? I think this is a new, if not the new area, that art has to come for. To get into. Just besides pixelling retro-characters on walls or paintings. But… to give respect to the developer: Pacman Physics was made on one day, so everything is fine in the end.
Bonoboblogs is an agglomerated blog of people who are into game design or related art. We tend to be clever and open and have fresh views on computing games. We fill the gap between experimental gameplay, game design and theory. More about.