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Randy Smith’s Article on Consequence & Choice

May 15, 2008

Via Clint Hocking’s blog, I found Randy Smith’s great article on consequences and choice in games. Like Clint, I’m going to suggest you just go read it. It’s worth every word.

To a degree, it covers the same sort of sentiment that I expressed in my article You’re Dead, or I Wish You Were.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 16, 2008 2:06 pm

    Can’t blame designers, of course. A few may be in the dark about this subject simply because they only began thinking about game design a few years ago –they’ve seen precious few examples, but most designers know all too well what Randy Smith is talking about.

    Problem is, they work for corporate publishers who won’t fund anything except the lowest common denominator experience, simply because easier “no pain” games with lots of handholding sell 10X-100X better than games with more freedom, depth and choices, not to mention that they cost a lot less to develop, which is the bottom line.

    However, based on my experience gaming with friends I’ve found that most people don’t want to have to choose from, say, multiple paths. Understandably, they find this kind of situation paralyzing instead of liberating. And, I think, most players electronic games are far more entranced by simple cause and effect than by deeper kinds of consequences (which, btw, most games don’t even need). So, you could switcheroo and point out that publishers aren’t really off the mark at all, depressing as that may be to some of us.

    I love the kinds of games Smith is pining for, and they are rare today on store shelves. But (and I admit that I am generalizing here) since around 1998 or 99 the industry –meaning in this case game publishers _not_ studios or designers– has decided to marginalize or even eliminate game types that might offer freedom, player-created narratives, player-centric valuations and difficult choices with complex consequences, and this trend shows no signs of letting up. If the motivation is $$, why should it?

    Also, players are not at fault here either. We are all just looking for a good game, and we’ll accept the best ones we can find..

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