On the Game-Wisdom discord channel, one of the fans posed a question to me: How does someone start studying a game genre if they would like to eventually start making a game in it? The question seems simple at first, but as I thought about it, it’s really quite hard to answer. Studying game design is not the same as reviewing a game, and really gets at the nature of understanding game design.
Procedural and random generation are the cornerstones of rogue-like design, and we have seen many games push these elements further than they have ever been. This past year with Dead Cells, and games like The Binding of Isaac, Spelunky, and of course Dwarf Fortress, all provide replayability thanks to those elements.
One game design trap I see is developers trying to build a “Zelda Rogue-Like” experience, and while this may sound like the next evolution of procedural design, it just doesn’t work from a game design perspective.
This past year has been great in reaching out beyond just the audience here to people in my local community about videogames and game design. However, the study of game design continues to be a mystifying art for some, and it hasn’t gotten any better since I started Game-Wisdom 7 years ago. With the growth of the industry and being accepted worldwide, there really needs to be more than just a handful of discussions about game design.
As one last bit of 2018 craziness, the hit Netflix series “Black Mirror” unveiled a very ambitious episode called Bandersnatch, which was designed as a literal choose your own adventure tale turned into a show. In return, I get to talk about a TV show/CYOA book/videogame all in one here. While the show does definitely capture the feeling of a game, how far does it go with this concept, and what game design lessons are there?