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Wednesday, June 6, 2007
 
Rethinking Game Difficulty And Player Rewards
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 19 comments

GameDaily Biz is offering a new article from Gas Powered Games CEO, Chris Taylor, about the evolution of design philosophy related to game difficulty and the need to reward players. Taylor examines the roots of the difficult game in carnival attractions and coin-op arcades, and explains why he thinks game designers should focus on rewarding players rather than punishing them with overly challenging obstacles.

And I brought this up at my GDC talk because I wanted to make the point that we were failing as an industry to create games that everyone could get "through." We were spending all this time and money on a part of the game that our customer would never see. I don't know if anyone really thought this was a smart point to make, but looking back, I should have spent the whole hour talking about it. I pointed out that when I buy a DVD, or a music CD, or a book, I always get "through" it. I'm never blocked from watching a TV show, or reading a magazine at the airport. I tried to imagine how many millions of dollars worth of gaming goodness that I was never seeing. How many boss battles and final victory sequences was I missing? Almost all of them by my recollection! Why? I had a ton of excuses. But I was always left with one overarching fact--I wasn't good enough to beat the game. I was slow. I was dumb. I didn't "get it." I'm impressed that the industry made it this far with our carnival-style punishment system.

Games are getting less violent, they're finally attracting women on a regular basis, and they aren't punishing the player as much. The transition will still take years, and many great games will still be designed that are violent, made for the infinitely hardcore male populace, and will punt you through the uprights when you make a slight mistake, but those will be the exception, not the rule.
Check out the rest of his comments at the link below.

GameDailybiz: Reward Players, Don't Punish Them!


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