All posts tagged: game design review

Knytt time at the end of the genre lifecycle.

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The lovely exploration/platformer Knytt Stories by that Swedish genius Nicklas Nygren is available. Download it, play it and spread word of its greatness throughout the land. Knytt is the epitome of accessible indie game design and one of the few titles that I’ve fallen deeply, passionately and madly in love with. Raised in the Scandinavian traditions of Linus and kindly gnomes, Nicklas is giving his entire life’s work away for free. This blatant socialism shall […]

The game design behind the five things blog meme

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First, let’s start off the exercise with an example. Here are three things about me (because I write too much for five to be worth wading through), as requested by at least two enchanting human beings, Mr. Edery and Mr. Booth. Note the links to their websites and consider the form and intent of the entries below. 1) Doctor WhoTelevision was uncommon in my household growing up for a variety of reasons. First, it clearly […]

The Wii Help Cat: A lesson in interaction design

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The Nintendo Wii has an inexplicably complex help system. A cat wanders onto the screen periodically. If you move your cursor quickly towards the cat, he’ll run away. However, if you are careful, you can sneak your cursor up on the cat, your cursor will turn into a hand and you can grab him. When you do, you get a tip about how to use the Wii dashboard. From a simple efficiency driven point of […]

Fighting the Dice Wars demon

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There is no post of substance this week due to my all consuming addiction with the turn-based strategy game Dice Wars. I have a weakness, a fundamental flaw in the basic fabric of my personality. Sit me in front of a casual turn-based strategy game and I become its willing slave. Another turn. Another game. A short 15 minutes session turns into a lengthy marathon of dozen upon dozens of such delightfully bite sized morsels. […]

Mini Game Design Reviews: Guitar Hero and Wierd Worlds

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I wanted to briefly mention two very different games that I’ve been spending time with recently. The first is Guitar Hero by Harmonix and the second is Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space by Digital Eel. Neither is a traditional game, and both have some good lessons about game design to share. Guitar Hero: The Importance of Setting Guitar Hero is a rhythm game at its core. The abstracted game mechanics are little different than […]

Game Design Review: DS Training for Adults

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While we were in Japan earlier this month, Aya’s brother gave her “DS Training for Adults: Work your Brain” (Kahashima Ryuuta Kyouju no Nou wo Kitaeru Otona no DS Training). Oni-san, this article is dedicated to you! DS Training for Adults is yet another a truly fascinating game title that straddles the edge between pure entertainment and practical software. The direct translation of the Japanese title is a good description of what to expect: ‘Whip […]

Game Design Review: Advance Wars – Dual Strike

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Advance Wars is the latest iteration of what I like to think of as the casual console turn-based strategy genre. Writing a design review of a highly evolved genre king like Advance Wars: Dual Strike is a distinctly different task than writing my previous review of a relatively new game design like Nintendogs. Again, this is a game design game design review, not a game review. A game review typically is written for the consumer […]

Nintendogs: The case of the non-game that barked like a game

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A game design review of an innovative gameMy beautiful lass recently borrowed a copy of Nintendogs from a friend (Thank you Porter!). This title has been burning up the charts in Japan and managed to get a perfect score in Famitsu magazine, a feat matched by only 4 other games in history. Why is it so successful and what can we learn from it as game designers? This is a game design review, not a […]