Game Design then and now

falselogic blogged about going back to the same old games all the time, that made think about game design years ago and now.
If i think 10 to 20 years back i remember some really awesome games. Think about Monkey Island, part one and two. Or Kings Quest and UFO – Enemy unknown or Mad TV. Not to forget Diablo and Starcraft. These titles have something in common. The had a new interesting design at the time. The graphic was bad, compared to todays games, the sound let your ears bleed, but the gameplay was awesome and something new. Not alway completely new, but all these games brought you some new experience. That is what made them great and let me remember them.
All of these were easy enough to learn. A famous game design quote says that a good game is ‘easy to learn but hard to master’. Todays games try to be as realistic as possible. Years ago a simple city building game had some living areas, some business areas, a power plant, a water plant and some streets you could place on a map. You had to generate taxes to expand your city. See everything explained in two sentences. Today you need a book, google the game, use tutorials and stuff. There are few games who kept it simple enough for beginners to have fun and complex enough to be long time addiction to hardcore gamer. World of warcraft makes this mostly right, Starcraft II is a great example or the Halo series. This is by no means a complete list. Please feel free to add every game, you feel is missing, to the comments. I think if you design a game you should first look at other games. Not to steal the idea, but to get a feeling for the things done right and wrong. Take for example Chess, Go and Poker. They follow the principle of ‘easy to learn, hard to master’. They are fun games that are around forever. Of course you don’t need to design a timeless classic, but if you think your game is missing something, take a look at these, play them, maybe you find, what you are looking for. Don’t try to make your game realistic, make it fun.

Enough of my ramblings for now. Have fun designing games, coding games, playing games or reading about games.

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