Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Shake The Can

Dear Mr. Ecko

After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that your game Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure is a terrible game. I am inclined to be somewhat forgiving, being that this is your first game design. However, The Collective should know better, since their work on the Buffy games was a sight better than this lump of completely misdirected potential.

In the future, though, here is some advice, should you proceed down the path of game design once more:

1. Read a book about game design, more specifically stage pacing and control schemes.

2. Take your initial concept in its barest form, break it down completely and ensure that every aspect of that core concept is fun and achievable.

3. In a game focused on tagging, the combat should not be (A) so annoying and (B) so prevalent in every single section.

4. Also, a result of so much combat is the overuse of the exact same character models over and over, sometimes utilizing what gamers derisively call a palette-swap. We know this trick and, almost overwhelmingly, hate it.

5. It is generally considered poor form to have time-intensive, complicated levels and then require players to completely start those levels over should they die from environmental hazard or aforementioned combat.

6. Bosses are no longer a necessary element of videogames; If you must have bosses, please don't give them repetitive, unblockable attacks that frustrate the player until they want to choke you. Yes, you, Marc Ecko.

7. It is perfectly okay to have the main character move at different speeds, instead of just an awkward half-walk/half-run.

8. Players don't need a constantly-running tutorial. Try and put all the basic functionality on the frontend and leave it at that. And on that note, try to make sure that more advanced functionality flows naturally from simpler forms. Think Jeet Kune Do.

9. Forcing players to enter "intuition mode" in order to uncover their goals is both unnecessary and a hindrance to play. You may have thought it made the game more challenging, but you were completely wrong. It would have been perfectly fine to have a floating icon, or even a faint stencil show up in possible tag locations; Gamers would have understood.

These constitute
the bulk of my complaints against your game, Mr. Ecko. I admit that, for a few levels, I was drawn in by the theme and found some of the play aspects compelling. But the flaws soon became more and more obvious, failure more and more intolerable and the actual act of tagging, the crux of the entire game, more and more tedious.

If you should turn
a decent profit on your gaming endeavor and happen to turn an eye toward making a sequel, I do humbly offer my consulting services.

Best to you and yours,

--Johnny Pi

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