For me the most magical gaming moment of 2011 happened in Portal 2 when I realised I could see the moon… (those who have played the game know what I mean).
What was yours?
Brevity is the soul of prophecy.
For years it’s been apparent that interpreting games and their makers through the opposed lenses of gameplay or story is inadequate. Such a one-dimensional spectrum breeds false oppositions (fun-or-art?) while either ignoring many games that don’t fit or reinterpreting them so they fit badly. The spectrum is too reductive and, while it is easy to summarise, it leaves out too much context.
Rather than talking about games in terms of two lenses, I use four (potentially five, but I’ll come back to that). Each represents a common set of assumptions and predispositions that I often see in makers, and there are correlations between them which makes for an interesting (though perhaps deceptively symmetric) diagram.
This post is long, but I’d like to take you through each in turn. I think you’ll find it useful.
Posted on 21 December 2011 | Permalink
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This evening I may have accidentally sent you some unwanted e-mail. Quora has created a new community feature called ‘Boards’, and in the excitement of setting up a Board and adding some of the people who already follow me on Quora as a test, I didn’t realise that adding users also enabled them to receive email from the Board by default.
So as I then added some test posts, a group of people got some mail they didn’t anticipate. I’ve taken steps to rectify the issue, but the damage is done. Unreservedly, I apologise.
"Ideas are worthless. The only currency that holds any weight is the ability and drive to execute." writes Mike Birkhead.
I know plenty of great executors whose game development careers are going nowhere and are staring mystified at the success of companies whose products they consider to be massively inferior to their own. Being focused purely on execution is generally a way to avoid taking creative risks, and the stereotypical "ideas are worthless" line is more of a self justification for good engineering and technical execution of art, audience be damned.
Execution is worthless without vision. Nobody cares if your game is well made, they care that it's remarkable, not the norm, a new idea. You’re not in the business of making better toothbrushes.
What Games Are is a year old today, and it’s been a really great year. Hopefully the next one will continue in that vein. In honour of the day, I’ve pulled out a list of 60 posts which really start to tell the story of what this blog (and the book) is about. They are not necessarily the posts that gained the highest traffic or the most tweets, but I feel they are nonetheless important.