The kind of game I would design

When I was in school people would ask me, “what do you want to do after college?” and I would say “I want to create games.” “That’s cool,” some would say, and say nothing more. But creative people would continue on and ask me, “what kind of games would you create?”

Now a college graduate, I still get asked that question, usually after being asked why did I move to Los Angeles and me responding with, “to get into the game industry.”

So what kind of games do I want to create?

When I respond to that question I don’t mention a certain genre of games although that’s what a lot of people look for. To me, the genre of the game depends on the message I would be trying to get across and what genre I felt would be best for exploring it. What I mean by that is I’d rather think of an interesting theme and create a story for a game that explored that theme. Naturally, the genre will reveal itself.

“Get drunk, go on dates, pick up hookers, shoot people, steal cars, run from cops—things people either do, would like to do, or only dream of.”

Some designers, though, feel games shouldn’t be story driven but rather feature driven, and I agree to a certain extent. Not all, but most people didn’t buy Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA IV) because they were looking for a story about an Eastern European immigrant who came to America to escape his war past and chase the “American Dream.” Most people brought the game because it allows you to run around a ditto of New York and do whatever you want. Get drunk, go on dates, pick up hookers, shoot people, steal cars, run from cops—things people either do, would like to do, or only dream of. However, I think that the emotion-grabbing storyline and what the GTA IV had to say about America as a whole added to the game tremendously and is more valuable than the game play.

Now, what do I mean by more valuable? Well, by that I mean it holds more weight. It’s knowledge you can take with you after you’re done playing the game. When you finish the GTA IV (or even while you’re playing it), you think about what you did (or are doing) as the main character of the game and why. You think about all of the hilarious radio talk shows, television shows, and ads in the game and how close they are to real ads and what it says about media consumers.

Those that enjoy good stories whether it be in a game, movie, or book, will appreciate GTA IV’s messages and themes. I know not everyone cares about good story, but as the age of the average gamer rises, some gamers look for more in a game than just the ability to shoot cops for fun. The average game is beginning to pick up on the fact that games like Ninja Gaiden 2 make no sense whatsoever (the story is horrible).

“Games that are rooted with a philosophy. Games that are worthy of the analysis that is given to a painting by Vincent van Gogh, or a novel by Ayn Rand, or a poem by Emily Dickinson.”

That’s not to say that games need to always have a deep story. There is a place for games that are just for fun, but there is also a place for fun games that have something to say and tug at emotions, and it is silently growing.

So, this is the kind of games I want to make—games that raises questions, conjurers up emotions, and has something to say. Games that are not like every other game. Games that are rooted with a philosophy. Games that are worthy of the analysis that is given to a painting by Vincent van Gogh, or a novel by Ayn Rand, or a poem by Emily Dickinson. Games that will strike debates and controversy. Games that will change ones outlook on life. Games worthy of being converted to a novel. Games that teach and reach those who may have never of Van Gogh, Rand, or Dickinson.

The question is, are publishers ready for me or would they rather put out more sequels?

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This entry was posted on Saturday, June 28th, 2008 at 3:27 am and is filed under Video Games. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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