Game Design Camp – What makes a good game?

Over the last few days I have played lots of games and adventures in Minecraft and Sploder and have been asked to reflect on what makes a good game. Some of the points I have listed regarding Minecraft adventure and puzzle maps included:

  1. Know your audience – age, skills and capabilities.
  2. Allow the normal resource collection process to occur in part of each area of the map so that players can take resources and further develop the tools they might need – here it becomes more open ended and allows for more problem solving to flourish instead of only one right answer.
  3. Give a few more hints via pictures of objects or through the books given to players.
  4. Have a handy hints link somewhere so that if players really get stuck they have some quick access to online information that might be helpful and deduct emeralds or whatever from inventory if they choose to use that link.
  5. Allow players to die and go back to the beginning and start again – make this an option on the respawn screen if possible.

Games made in Sploder were of different varieties. I found some of these quite challenging as my reflexes and understanding of the requirements of the games were severely tested. What I did see as good aspects of the games were as follows:

  1. Being able to see the next part of your goal. (Arcade and 3D Game)
  2. Using simple instructions and introducing new capabilities as the game progresses. (Arcade and 3D Game)
  3. Maintaining rewards as the player progresses not just at the end. (Arcade and 3D Game)
  4. Having the player cover old ground as necessary to complete a puzzle. (Arcade and 3D Game)
  5. Allowing players to progress at their own pace, when ready to act. (Arcade and 3D Game)

Things which struck me about the games I liked –

  1. An avatar and an environment with which you can identify.
  2. Thinking outside the box – which sometimes made me come unstuck.
  3. Rewards as you complete various activities and advance your skills in capabilities.
  4. Being able to start again after dying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *