Character Arcs, Stories, and Horizon Zero Dawn.

WARNING! Due to the nature of the topic that I am writing about, there will be spoilers for the following games; Horizon Zero Dawn, The Elder Scrolls; Oblivion (specifically “the Origin of the Gray Prince” sidequest), the Prince of Persia; Sands of Time, and the Witcher 3 A month has passed since the release of Horizon…

Shops. Does your game need one?

It’s an important question to ask yourself, especially when you’re dealing with a game that involves many different items. But the answer may not be as obvious as you think. The decision to add a shop in a game, like every other mechanic, has ramifications. A poorly placed store can devalue rewards, throw off the balance of areas,…

Not Your Father’s Mario

A man owns an axe. He uses it to chop wood for years. When his son grows up he gives the axe to him. The son also uses the axe to chop wood for years. However, one day the handle breaks and needs to be replaced—the son does this. When the son’s son grows up,…

Mods—What is it Good For?

For many years, PC gamers have had the ability to mod their games. It’s easier on PC because a PC is a much more agreeable machine than a gaming console where code isn’t easily accessed. Steam, the primary online source of games for the PC, has the Steam Workshop. This is an easy-to-use place for Steam…

That’s Not Very Realistic

“That’s not very realistic.” Have you said this about a game? Or perhaps a passer-by said it to you while you were playing? I’m guilty of saying it. For some reason, we have this mindset that certain aspects of games should mirror reality to a firm point of accuracy. This complaint arises for graphics, mechanics,…

The Art of Level Design; the Dungeon

Level design is a broad topic, and some design philosophies might not translate well to different games. Today we are going to focus on dungeons, the playhouse of adventurers. Ever since the olden days of pencil and paper games, players have been trudging through dungeons. Fatal traps, bloodthirsty monsters, and perplexing puzzles are promised by…

The Player’s Price

What is a game worth? This question can be answered in many ways with no wrong answers. In a sense, a game is worth what the player is willing to pay. When we talk about “worth,” we usually conjure ideas of price tags and MSRP’s. However, even when just talking about monetary value, there are…