A Look at the Players’ Bill of Rights

Phoenix Wright

For Did You See This Wednesday, we’re taking a look at a classic piece of writing on games.

Over at Gamasutra, writer Laralyn McWilliams resurrected an old essay by Graham Nelson, who, if you’re not aware (and I wasn’t), did a lot of legwork for the interactive fiction medium. These adventure games essentially formed the basis of video games as we know them.

Perhaps Nelson’s most famous essay about game design is known as the Craft of Adventure, in which he meticulously outlines what he titles the Players’ Bill of Rights. These rules are a set of standards that game creators must honor when dealing with players. And oddly enough, it’s still just as meaningful almost 3 decades later. Continue reading A Look at the Players’ Bill of Rights

Achievements: Unlocking Negative Gameplay?


Achievements have definitely had a huge impact on the way I play games. A few years ago I played Oblivion well past the point of enjoyment because I knew for a fact that if I just played long enough I could get all of the achievements. It’s still the only game I’ve ever managed to 100%, but there have been several other times I’ve come close. Achievement hunting appeals to the obsessive collector in me, and if I don’t burn out on a game, I’m usually more than willing to spend a few hours after the endgame running around trying to do the oftentimes arbitrary tasks required to make them unlock.

That said, it didn’t surprise me to read designer Keith Burgun’s article about how achievements negatively affect gameplay. Burgun argues that “at their best, [achievements] do nothing at all. At their worst, they influence player behavior.” Now, I’m sure we all have stories of achievement hunters ruining multiplayer games. After all, if there’s an achievement for getting X kills with a knife in multiplayer, the end result is that you’re going to have a bunch of dudes running around trying to stab each other whether or not it actually makes tactical sense. It’s easy to see how achievements could negatively influence player behaviors when it comes to playing with a group of people, but what’s the big deal when it comes to playing solo? Continue reading Achievements: Unlocking Negative Gameplay?

Game Design Gets Taken to Court

game design lawsuits

In the wake of the recent Mass Effect controversy and all of the other game-design related outcries, I sometimes wonder if gamers would take games to court if they could. 1up recently put up a feature about six game design choices that should be punishable by law, and it’s a pretty good read.

Sure, it’s humorous in nature, but there’s no denying that I feel like I need compensation for the pain and suffering caused by some of their examples. The slow-moving text in Skyward Sword is a great one, and it’s something that a lot of Nintendo games, from Pokemon to Mario, are guilty of. Sure, you can hold down the A button or whatever to speed up the text, but it still crawls pretty slowly. Ninty seems set on doing this and a lawsuit just might be the only way to get them to change their ways.

Personally, I’d like to sue someone over the Journal design in Mass Effect 3. I can get around bad quest logs, but the one in ME3 is just plain unhelpful. Main quests, side-quests and fetch-quests are all lumped together and the damn thing doesn’t even update when you’ve gathered one of the items necessary for your eavesdropping side-business on the Citadel.

I could probably also make a case against some of the things in Battlefield 3, and maybe for the extreme time-loss caused by Skyrim, but I’m pretty sure I have Stockholm Syndrome where that game is concerned. What did you guys think about the article? Are these choices worth going to court over? What games would you get litigious against?

Source – 1up

Brainstorming the Future of Game Design

Halo 4 Concept Art

Everyone’s got some kind of idea about where the future of videogames is heading. But beyond the kind of hardware we’re looking at or what kind of input players are using to interact with their screens, what really matters are the actual design trends set forth by developers. Whether it’s cover-based shooting, leveling up in multiplayer or a rush of side-scrolling platformers, every generation sees a number of these defining trends.

So where do the actual developers of today think they’ll be tomorrow? PopSci took a stab at finding out by interviewing some notable talent in the video game industry. In a cool piece that covers Epic’s Cliffy B, Super Giant’s, Greg Kasavin, 343’s Scott Warner and others, these developers talk about the innovations that they’re the most excited about exploring. This includes everything from the wacky — playing trackpad-based games with your nose — to making sure that everyone is connected via the Internet. Regardless of the methods, there are definitely some thought-provoking answers in the bunch.

It’s always cool to see what’s bouncing around in the heads of some of the creative leaders in the industry. I’m sure that a few years back, none of these same guys could have predicted where we’d be today, and what kinds of games we would be playing. Where do you guys think the future of game design is going? Do you agree/disagree with any of these developers? Go!

Source – PopSci

The Top Game Design Programs in the Country

MiyamotoI’d like to think our Sound Off the other day was a rousing success. It let a few of you talk about some stuff that you’ve been thinking about, and also brought to light a few issues that you guys were interested in. Score one for Eddy, yes? And you guys, I guess. But me most of all.

Anyway, one of the things that you guys brought up was the topic of getting into the video game industry. While I’m not whiz when it comes to the gaming industry myself (every attempt of mine has gone down in burning flames), it seems that GamePro has posted a recent article to help you do just that. They basically do a run down of the best grad and undergrad game design programs in the country, by school. It’s certainly an interesting list, and one that I thought would be beneficial for you guys.

So what do you guys think? Would you be interested in going to any of those places? I have to say that I’m not too surprised that USC ranks at the top for both grad and undergrad, knowing the way they excel at other media as well. What kinds of positions are you guys interested in specifically when it comes to games? Go!

Source – GamePro