Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 2010: Collection and Completion

September 2010's topic, Collection and Completion, was submitted by game designer Doug Hill.

Doug writes:

From munching dots in Pac-Man to unlocking achievements and trophies in the hottest new AAA game for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the act of collecting and completing has been a central part of video games for over three decades now.

The collection and completion design is clearly one of the most tried and true mechanics for adding longevity to the video game experience – but is it flavor or filler? Do collecting and completing enhance our design, or are we distracting players from the real heart of our games' designs?

In this month's topic, Game Design Aspect of the Month wants to explore the means and the method behind this core mechanic in so many games. Here are some potential topics to explore:
  • How can we implement 'collection and completion' mechanics that enhance the quality of our games rather than distract from it? Is it possible?
  • How does the 'collection and completion' mechanic affect player psychology? Is driving our players to complete every collection healthy or detrimental?
  • What are some of the key characteristics that make 'collection and completion'-centric games (such as Pokemon) so successful? Does it lie with the mechanic and how it is implemented, or is it found elsewhere?
Doug Hill is a freelance game designer and writer who has worked on a variety of published video games over the past ten years. His current focus is developing intellectual property for use in both interactive and non-interactive media.


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