Tuesday, October 6, 2009

System Gank

Got a twofer for ya, my review of Spyborgs. It's an underbudget brawler that didn't really give me a lot to chat about one way or the other. You can see what they were hoping for but aspirations are hardly in short supply these days.

In addition to the Super Metroid piece, this week's post is on the question of when a player has broken a game design. Industry terms for this vary, I think Manveer Heir called it 'Pimping the System' while the usual term is min/max scenarios. Personally, I call it system gank after a World of Warcraft meme that I always use in law school to explain a broken law. There isn't a whole lot of concise thinking on the topic. You've got the same folks who jabber that games should remain insanely hard for everyone and blah blah blah while on the other hand you have people proposing that games should be so easy that they might as well be passive. If all I have to do to progress is press a button, what is the difference between that and a remote control?

As a consequence the handful of notes and ideas I'd written on it were rotting on the slush pile. My editor, G. Christopher Williams, asked if we wanted to do a roundtable chat one week and I mentioned it. I put out a post, then he wrote one, then Nick Dinicoloa wrote a response to both of those. The end product ended up being a bit like a game of Telephone, morphing and changing the idea about as each person added their own perceptions of it.

Turned out fairly interesting, you should read all week to see the conclusion.

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