Here’s a nicely put together look into the future of gaming, they look at why games exist in their current form and how the evolving use of mechanics in games impact us.
From PSFK on the Future of Gaming:
January 19th, 2012 by Adam
PSFK’s Future Of Gaming report presents key trends emerging within the gaming space that brands, non-profits and communities can leverage to build engagement and motivate their target audience towards achieving a desired goal or outcome. It is designed to inspire anyone tasked with creating compelling user experiences, whether that be on a digital screen, in the real world or somewhere in between.
We recognize that there is a tremendous amount of research and study taking place around gaming, and this report reflects our contribution to that conversation. The report provides a current snapshot into the innovative ways that games are being used within the broader marketplace, examine their expanding role in effecting change on an individual and societal level, and highlight the new technologies that are making these experiences possible.
Tiny Tower by NimbleBit has been on the app store best sellers list for some time now and only recently did I try it out. The game is clearly influenced by so-called social (Facebook) games and directly takes some mechanics from Facebook games for monetization, the question that always comes to my head when playing gaes like this: which came first, the plan for the game or the plan for how to make money.
Either way, a good free to play game focuses on the play experience first and foremost. Only after the primary game elements have been figured out should the pay mechanics be factored in.* Essentially one should be able to play the entire game and enjoy it without ever paying a cent. The games that dont do that end up not being played for a long time or die in the market place.
What about Tiny Tower then?
Tiny Tower is similar to SimTower in that you build a skyscraper and you manage a couple resources as you build it. Tiny Tower is really simple when it comes to what you manage: money.
The money in Tiny Tower is handled like most freemium games with a ‘hard’ and a ‘soft’ currency. You can earn both in game, but the as always the soft currency is easier to get. Other than currency the only thing I felt I should care about was the happiness of my 8-bit tenants. Their happiness doesn’t matter because it’s not related to anything meaningful.
The game gets repetitive – and fast.
Somewhere in-between building floors 10-20 you’ve experienced everything the game can provide. This gives the player little incentive to keep playing, indeed the only thing that will likely keep people going is how many friends are also playing the game (thus the social aspect), but even that is unrewarding.
The only thing that kept me playing as long as I did was the theme of the 8-bit world and their tongue in cheek tone throughout the game. For example, instead of Facebook the game has BitBook that provides insight into the tenants.
It turns out that Tiny Tower is getting missions and soon. Perhaps I’ll update the game and try playing it again.
*I am fully aware that there are always exceptions. There should be or talking about games would get boring fast.
November 12th, 2011 by Adam
I’m a huge fan of paper prototyping because it’s fast and can identify problems with game design very quickly. The ability to do fast iterations of design choices is very important to finessing game mechanics. I stand by the idea that all types of games can benefit from paper prototyping so it’s nice to see that someone else looks at how paper prototyping can help people who make games based on the news.
The article goes through the basics of paper prototyping then gets to the interesting part on how to effectively use the prototyping idea.
KETTLING AS A PUZZLE GAME
In late November of 2010, a student protest in London highlighted the inhumane treatment of young protesters through the practice of “kettling:” large cordons of police, often in riot gear, encircle a group of protesters for the purposes of transportation, dispersal, or long-term containment. The 2010 kettling incident was particularly unsettling because some groups of students were reportedly contained in excess of nine hours and denied food, water or a restroom facilities for the duration of the kettle.
In response, Stephen Lavelle (aka increpare, an ultra lo-fi indie game designer) produced the digital editorial game Kettle within three days of the event. The simple puzzle game casts players in the role of the police cordon, which can push inward from any of four sides in order to arrange a disparate group of young protesters into a tight, n x n formation. In between puzzles, rough cartoons depict the harassment of students by boorish officers (“Haha, you shat yourself” and “Guess you’re going to miss class”).
While the puzzle mechanics themselves are fairly abstract, the interstitial comics provide specific details on the recent event, such as the facts that the protesters were students and that they were denied access to restrooms.
Read the rest of the piece here.
October 5th, 2011 by Adam