Let a billion videogames bloom

Everything game development: news, lessons, discussion

Weekly Links #291

13 October 2019 — No Time To Play

Hello, everyone! Another week, another big scandal in the game industry. I'll only say one thing this time: game developers will never again be able to pretend they're somehow "apolitical". Or that it's possible to separate capitalism from politics for that matter. There goes that damnable delusion, and good riddance.

On a happier note, Cybersphere is now available for 64-bit Linux (also on Itch.io) and my secret sideshow is also progressing nicely. Not much else to report for now; being both busy and sick sapped my time and energy this week something fierce.

Speaking of which: this is supposed to be a newsletter, but often an older thing I missed is just too good to pass up on. On Monday I got pointed at an article on open-world game design in the Zelda series, and it's one of those where my own words couldn't do it justice, so I just have to quote the author instead:

Shigeru Miyamoto has gone on record many times saying why he didn't over-explain the world of Zelda. Its gaps were calculated to create playground talk, and the game was an attempt to give an increasingly urban population the experience of exploring a disappearing rural countryside. Zelda 1 was meant to be a simulation of having a big backyard for kids who didn't have one. And backyards don't come with maps or tutorials. Life doesn't either, which is what backyards are supposed to teach you.

Which reminds me of the scientific studies from a while ago finding that videogames improve coordination and quick decision making. Could we maybe add personal agency to that list someday?

Hard to say. Mostly, the article talks about simulationist game design versus scripted interactions. A discussion that also takes place every so often in the interactive fiction community, but nobody ever sees it as a hint to simply let go and allow players to find their own fun off the beaten path. Perhaps because here in the western world, people don't get the difference between narrative and story.

Good thing we have other cultures to learn from, then.

Tags: news, rpg, game-design

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