Friday, August 31, 2007

Infamous warning haiku for game designers

Stil on that casual x hardcore debate:

Forcing a blend between
mass market and niche
makes "medio-core" games?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lessons from other media: addressing different levels of literacy

For this round table, I´ll adopt Bateman´s suggested terminology and discuss casual and hardcore in terms of levels of literacy. This terminology, I believe, makes easier to approach videogames as part of a large group of different media - and that´s is pretty much what I´ll try to do here. I´ll not, however, directly compare films to games, music to games, etc. The intention is to discuss how other media manage to please and attract heterogen audiences comprising varied levels of literacy.

I am not suggesting that a designer should necessarily aim at a varied public - there are niche products and genres, and that´s fine. But you will notice that most examples have been quite successfull in both short and long terms. Here they are:

TV: The Simpsons

The longest running animation in history is capable to please children and adults of all age. It is no secret that part of its success is due to its allusions and references to works and characters that should be familiar only to a parcel of the audience. Still, it also has a very strong, straightforward, comic verve, that does not depends on sophisticated levels of literacy and can please anybody.

Literature: George Orwell´s Animal Farm

Again, a very clear piece of work that can be read and enjoyed by children, but that also is very interesting to adults for its political message, which is about Orwell´s strong critical view on the communist regime.
(It seems there´s a film adaptation)

Music: The Beatles

Or even just Sargeant Pepper´s Lonely Hearts Club Band, for that matter. The Beatles successfull fusion between catchy pop tunes, avant-gard art and classical music (this one, thanks a lot in part to producer George Martin) took rock music to a new degree, earning even more respect and credibility for their work. In a single album, sometimes in a single song, they could add elements that would please the ears of people with different musical background and taste.

Web: Google
Its front page is still a single form line with two buttons. However, in the hands of experienced users it can trasform into a all-in-one online center.

In the end, it seems that it all comes to what the reader/player/listener chooses to pay attention to. It´s about giving not only variety, but depth. Taking care of 'casual' and 'core', to bring back these terms.

Ok, so what games would you say that have this kind of quality? Well, I would start a list with Sensible World of Soccer. Very simple to play (one button!), and several levels of micro-management that could be safely ignored, if so the player wished to. What games would you add to the list?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Flora on FILE 2007


Net-Art, Video-Installations, Interactive Works, Games, Robotic Performances and Beyond. Hypermedia Works, Telematic Actions, Artificial Intelligences, Interactive Cinematics, Expanded Realities, The New Culture Of Interfaces, Tangible Immaterialities.

FILE - Electronic Language International Festival was held at Sesi 10-Paulista's Cultural Space, in São Paulo, Brazil, from August 13th to September 09rd,

For the second consecutive year I´ve got something to show at FILE (Electronic Language International Festival), which is a great pleasure and honor. This year, Flora is being exhibited along with other experimental games. Here´s the list.

Check their website for more details.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Musical / Visualization game for iPod

This is Musika, developed by NanaOn-Sha and created by Masaya Matsuura, the designer who gave us PaRappa the Rapper:

Musika can be either be played or simply watched, so it´s pretty much a non-game too. Its spirit feels a little bit like those Llamasoft synths, although I think this one has more rigid rules and goals. Here they are (EDIT 24/11/2008: from apple's website):

"Your music is your game! 'musika' is a ground-breaking music visualizer game for your iPod that uses the songs on your iPod to create original game play.If you see a character that is in the song title, just hit the Center button!Faster reactions will earn you more points!"

It´s good to see interesting alternative games on the iPod. This could be a very interesting platform for, well, any kind of game really. As long as you can play with one button and a wheel (hey, have they ported Rally X already?).

(via Gamasutra)

Monday, August 06, 2007

The DS has been drinking (not me)

The WiiWii website has a post on alcohol-related non-games being released for Nintendo´s portable console. Apparently, there are at least 3 titles in development:

- Sakeshou DS, which seems to be an encyclopedia on Sake (Japanese spirit made of rice).

- Bartender DS, edutainment about drinks tp be published by EA.


- Sommelier DS, its counterpart for wine lovers.

There has been a number of cooking titles released for DS, so this is a logical step. Any guesses on how much it could sell and how it could be received by the press/public opinion?

ps: it´s good to post something after such a long break from here. Due to some news I might slightly change the focus of this website in the near future. stay tuned.
Copyright, Chico Queiroz