Archive for Game Design

Sorry, I just had to…

Posted in Game Design, Game Reviews, Games, Rants with tags , , , on January 25, 2010 by Matthew VanDevander

As an game designer, I look at games a little bit differently than most people. I try to be critical of video games as a medium, and not just games in particular. I also try to avoid playing games that I think will waste my time. I know that looking at scores for video games online is not an objective way to decide what games to play. However I’m baffled at the how positive the reviews were for Bioshock.

No offence if you’ve played Bioshock and loved it, but I just don’t understand why people would score the game better than Half-Life 2. And I don’t want to seem stuck in the past, I just feel that Bioshock was a flawed game.

Also, if you haven’t played Bioshock, I warn you that there are spoilers below:

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Grey, The new Black and White.

Posted in Computers, Game Design, Game Design Essays, Games, Rants with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2008 by Matthew VanDevander

Bear with me, because this is a bit of a long rant, but it’s hopefully worth the read…

Alright, so lets talk about morality and moral choices in games. There’s obviously a lot of games out there that provide moral choices as a core game concept: the Fable series, Bioshock, almost all of Bioware’s games… So all of these games are supposed to be centered around this idea of moral choices between good and evil.

And the basic way in which these games implement morality is with what basically accounts to a slider with good on one end and evil on the other. So in order to become an evil character you have to have a lot of evil points, or if you’re wanting to play a good character you’ve got to have a lot of those points. But the problem is that in order for this to work, and for the game be able to determine where you are on this slider, every decision in the game has be reduced into a simple black and white decision; one choice will yield good points and the other choice yields evil points. Unfortunately, this also makes the most of the game’s choices uninteresting and defeats the initial draw the whole moral choice idea had in the first place, because all of the choices are so easy to make. Continue reading