Monday, November 29, 2004

Everybody Wins

Interesting article in the New York Times about the ascendance of games "where no one loses." The article focuses on the creators of Cranium, as an example of a highly successful independent game in which social cohesion and fun are more important than having one player defeat the others. However, the author notes that some competition is essential for a game to be interesting; there must be a delicate balance between competition and letting everyone have a moment to "shine."

This piece also touches on the importance of user testing in game design. The money quote: "there is no way to know if a game idea you have sketched on paper is going to work ... the only thing to do is endlessly play-test it, scrutinizing your players with anthropological intensity for signs of distraction or ennui."

In addition, the article mentions something for another Edgames wiki article: the card game Apples for Apples, which I hadn't heard of before. It's a word game in which there are no "correct" answers; instead, the aim of the game is to stimulate friendly, intelligent debate about vocabulary. The game has sold over a million copies in three years, and was designed by an independent designer, not a big game company. There is hope for us all!

Read the whole thing - it's well worth it.


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