Tuesday, June 29, 2010

July 2010: In Search of Old School Fun

July 2010's topic, In Search of Old School Fun, was submitted by game designer Michael Lubker.

He writes:

We all love games from old-school names like Maxis, Sierra, Mecc, LucasArts (SCUMM days), Apogee, Impressions, MicroProse, Ensemble, etc. This topic discusses what's changed in the days since then and how difficulty levels, graphical complexity, popularity of genres and business models all change the perception of "fun" both from a business and gameplay perspective.

  • What makes these games good? Is it just nostalgia or is there something missing since games went 3D/ultra-realistic?
  • Why do we not see this realism trend in Asian games (besides Square Enix)?
  • What could bring the adventure genre back (more than just remaking old games or getting licenses (i.e. Nancy Drew, Back to the Future) ?
  • Why is graphical complexity important? Look at all the great games on Kongregate that aren't graphically complex.
  • Are the hardcore as hardcore as they used to be? A lot of old games seem punishing now.
  • Why are we seeing a return of arcade-style business models and why now?
  • Are there ways to make the old school games appeal to the mainstream?
Why game designers are/should be interested:

The industry is in flux and designers are conflicted in choices of
audience appeal and making a "fun" and challenging game... but for

Michael Lubker is an executive producer and designer at Axelo Inc, currently finishing up his first 2 games in a production/design position. He has also worked in QA on The Sims Castaway Stories,
Supreme Commander, and 1701AD Gold. He also was a founding advisor for the Independent Game Conference, is co-coordinator of the IGDA Indie SIG, and is a coordinator for the Global Game Jam in Austin, TX, where he helped produce a working XNA/Xbox 360 title in 48 hours.


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