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Innovation & Design

Three Game-Design Evils

This article is an abridged transcript of a discussion group at Develop in Brighton, England.

Jonathan Smith

Traveller's Tales

“I would choose too much balance in games. Games are so often neither too easy or too hard but somewhere in the middle. As a player I can never quite fail, nor can I succeed too easily. It feels like I might as well not be there at all.

“Sometimes it's nice to find a game that is unbalanced so that when it is too easy you feel absolute power to dominate, and when it is too hard you feel a sense of achievement when you do succeed.

“I'm thinking especially of some linear shooting games when you know you will take just so many attempts to move forward, or RPGs where as you level up, so do all the enemies. What is the point of the player being there at all?

“This relentless reward structure takes away any sense of drama. I want to be surprised.

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