Posts Tagged ‘Browser Based’

Nov 09

Randomness and Video Game Design

Randomness in games is a recipe for disaster. There are some games like snakes and ladders in which everything is random. The roll of the dice is random, the placement of both the snakes an ladders are random and the winner is random. The game requires no skill and has a level playing field. This is one of the reasons it is a great family game, as a child of four playing for the first time has just as much chance of winning as their experience father, who has played many times. However, if you are creating a game for those over the age of six then randomness should be kept to a minimum.

In most cases, games need set rules and laws to govern play. These rules allow players to learn and get better at the game. If you think of tennis for example, the rules are set and anyone can play. However, only those willing to put the effort in truly excel. If randomness is introduced players would not seek to become professionals as they could never truly control the game. In some cases, such as XCOM the randomness is introduced at the very beginning in the placement of the enemy aliens. This randomness works well as it changes the game from memorizing where the aliens are, to a more strategic game where the act of playing requires skill.

Games like the original Mario and Sonic games required the user to play the levels and memorise the layout in order to achieve the best outcome. Whilst fun, it left little playability after the levels had been completed. More recently, games have introduced additional elements to extend playability such as three different star achievements which are achieved when certain criteria is met. This feature does extend the game but only by a factor of three.

One such random occurrence in modern games is the infamous winged blue shell in Mario Kart. The blue shell is a power up given to the last place player and pretty much instantly, takes out the player in first place. The game itself is fantastic and has spawned a slew of clones but one thing that does stop it from being a fully playable game is the blue shell. I know it is part of a range of balancing measures to keep the game fun for all players but it ultimately punishes good players and those who have attempted to master the game. When you see gamers play Mario Kart at a competitive level you will notice that a tactic has emerged where played actively try NOT to be in first place and that by sitting in the middle of the pack is the best strategy when competing.

I don’t think I have explained myself fully here but the moral of the story is that if you intend your game to last, and tempt players to really invest time and effort in your game, then keep randomness to the absolute minimum. It will just turn players off and pigeon hole your game with many others in the ‘good fun for five minutes’ bracket and lose players who will follow and promote your game. Obviously, some exceptions to the rule exist but trust me; my logic is sound.

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Jun 20

6 Video Games My Kids Are Addicted Too

My children love to play games. When I need them to sit still for a while (and stay out of trouble) or if we have exhausted playtime I often suggest they play games. Finding the perfect video games for children can be tough. There are some games that look OK for children but aren’t appropriate. You can’t always tell by the picture on the case whether or not the game is suitable for those under 10 years of age. Sometimes, kids under 10 aren’t going to want to play war games or understand what they mean!

We currently have a PlayStation and some of the more popular games in our house are:

Little Big Planet

This is a fantastic game because it allows our child to create their very own levels from scratch. They can create anything and make their own world so that they can truly enjoy playing the game and letting their creative ideas flow.

Lego Star Wars Complete Saga

Everyone knows Star Wars but this game really makes it look appealing to everyone. This incorporates all characters throughout the entire Star Wars franchise and allows children to come up with fun and challenging puzzles as well. It may have shooting but as this is balanced with slapstick which makes the kids laugh.

Formula One Championship Edition

I was surprised to see this on as often as it is. It is a great choice for children who love racing cars. Also, it is a game that can be played by all of the family so with the cooperative mode on, everyone we can play along.

Ratatouille

The film, along with a slew of other Disney movies are very popular in our house. There are puzzles to solve as well as different levels and skills to play through. The skill level starts off low and works its way up to be quite a challenge towards the end.

Monopoly

This is a great family game that I loved as a girl so was eager to play it with my kids. This is great for children to learn about money at the same time as having a bit of fun with their friends and family alike. It can drag on after a while but great fun for family night.

Sonic Unleashed

Everyone loves Sonic, but I was a bit skeptical about this one, after all, Sonic turns into a ‘Were-Hedgehog’. Ultimately though, he is a great character and gamers can choose different players. Plus all the damage he does is to robots and not animals or people.

There are so many amazing games to play and even if your child has a little trouble understanding or using a game or even the play station console, there is plenty of PlayStation support on offer. Use it because it really will allow your child to enjoy their gaming experience. Remember, games can be fun and they can be educational also.

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