Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Post of the day: Keep it simple, make it special - minimalist games.

A lot of aspiring game developers get burned by attempting to make an AAA title without the workforce and the money that such titles require. If you're able to create a polished, good, big game, please, go ahead, I am not saying that it should not be attempted. This post will merely serve to inspire by showing minimalist titles that received moderate success.

Super Hexagon

I recently picked this title up and it's simply addictive. The game mechanics are simple. Your mouse arrow is attached to a stationary hexagon. Your job is to move your mouse arrow to a different courner of the hexagon to avoid hitting into figures flying towards you. There are a few levels and in a level the difficulty increases every 10 seconds. Because you're likely to fail very early on you spend very little time actually being in game and therefore you tell yourself that it's alright to have one more try. The brutal gameplay and a wonderful music score keeps you playing for hours. The video next to this text shows off the gameplay of the first level.

Angry Birds

While the game is colourful and indeed quite amusing looking the mechanics of it are quite simplistic. You decide how hard to throw the bird and try to demolish a structure with as few birds as possible. The game certainly released at just the right time on the right platform to receive all of that popularity, but nonetheless it's a good example of a popular game with a very simple mechanic.

Flappy Birds

While the true story behind how this game became popular is unknown, the fact that the bird was hard to control, the average game play time was in seconds and you had the ability to show off your high score to your friends and challenge them most definitely played a part in its popularity. While no longer on the market the game raised enough commotion to spawn countless clones.

Gone Home 

Let me begin by openly telling you that I don't like this game. I think that the story lacks quality for a story driven game and it used controversial topics and nostalgia for an era to gain customers. Having said that, this game has accomplished something important in the industry. It brought a discussion on "how much gameplay does a game need?". Together with games like "Dear Esther" ts has started a new genre, that's yet to be named. Story driven exploration, or exploration driven story is the closest that I'll get to accurately describing this genre. In these kind of games you do nothing, but explore the environment around you. As you approach either important places or objects such as notes, recordings and such the story starts to emerge. That's the whole game. However the suspension of "what's next?" and the intrigue of feeling like a detective uncovering a story keeps you playing. I believe that this genre holds a lot of potential.
Having said all of that, what I believe and what I think of it doesn't matter - it was still a very successful game with very minimal gameplay.

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