December 12th, 2011
In addition to playing games, I pride myself on knowing what makes great games great. Like many of you, I perceive innovation — aka new gameplay ideas — in video games as paramount. Good execution is just expected.
But that's not at all the case, says Gamasutra columnist Lewis Pulsipher, who holds a PHD and has studied game design for 50 years.
"The idea that a game is more desirable to play because it is 'innovative' puzzles me immensely," writes Pulsipher. "My view is that what’s important in games is how the mechanics work together, the whole not the parts... The point is to have a game that's enjoyable for a target market to play, not to have a game that is in some way 'new'."
As such, great games are 10% innovation and 90% perspiration, Pulsipher says. To put it another way, every game should have at least one little hook to get gamers to stop playing what they already enjoy (10%); the other 90% should be to ensure the fewest amount of bugs possible so that the new game is not a pain to play.
Adds Pulsipher, "AAA video games cost so much to produce that innovation is very risky. There's innovation in video games nowadays, but only from the indie publishers. Big games are dominated by sequels. All 13 games listed in a recent PC Gamer magazine as “most anticipated” by readers are sequels. All of them."
What do you think: Does the average gamer overstate the importance of innovation in gaming? Is excecution really more important? Or are we all hypocrates for saying one thing ("Innovation!") then doing another (buying lots of sequels)?
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