Game design Toolbox – Top 10 ideas to steal

By Bing Gordon, October 1999

10. Win first, win fast.

“90% of Sonic players win the first level the first try.”
“90% in 10 minutes” goal for Populous first level off by 400%.
Some NFL Blitz players feel like they’re winning by breaking rules, even if losing.
“Starter towns” in Sim City.

9. Music is a Myst opportunity.

“I see with my ears.”
Voices and footsteps in Metal Gear have effect of camera close-ups on Hitchcock movies.
Rock soundtracks in RR, Quake, FIFA.
Music-making as a game element in Zelda, Myst.

8. Gamers project themselves on more than just Lara.

“I didn’t know whether to name that female character after my wife or my ex.”
naming characters in Zelda, FF7.
Garb in Ultima Online.
TalentMaker with self photo via Gameboy cam

7. We value what we pay for.

“You’re the only person who doesn’t have his own fairy.”
earn the interface, own the interface.
Fairy helper in Zelda, notebook in Lands of Lore, My Yahoo.

6. Gamers want high Eye Q.

Is that an ogre behind that tree ?
More immersion if visual details have game significance.
“Finger roll” in Dr J/Larry bird one on one

5.Games are community property

“You owe us a car per month.”
Or a vehicle, or a landmark, or a planet feature.
Sustaining marketing now includes sustaining product development.
70% of SC3K owners download first buildings. flourishes.
HTML web page game saves in Sims.

4. It’s not fake 3D if you like it.

Camera tricks gave a heightened sense of 3D in FF7, Zelda: Ocarina.
Gran Turismo instant replay trick.
Pro Boarder camera zoom at start of race.
Road Rash 3D rotating bike beauty shots.
Double Dribble slam dunk close ups

3. Is that a Pokemon in your pocket?

Tamagotchi and Pokemon are the Walkman of artificial life.
10 million worldwide?
Repositioning of memory cards? Palm Pilots? CE devices? Pocketstation?

2. “People want an unexpected social phenomenon.”

“Each product has its own mission” says Miyamoto.
Pokemon Stadium on N64!
TalentMaker with Gameboy Camera.
“You need a Rumble Pak” to catch fish in Zelda.
Microsoft bundling football with joypad?

1.It’s not the meat, it’s the motion.

Miyamoto figures out movements and movement controls before designing worlds and gameplay!
For Zelda 64 it was running, jumping, flying, hitting, taking.
Requires much more prototyping.