Zarathustran Analytics in Video Games, Part 1: Finding Identity
L.B. Jeffries kicks off his ambitious series on the state of gaming with the question of how a game can develop its own unique identity.
The majority of video games out now still draw their roots from very basic games. The upcoming Starcraft II is a very complex, sped up version of chess. The Baldur's Gate games, along with most fantasy RPGs, are basically recreating the D&D or GURP games in a complex visual form. Even Wolfenstein 3-D was originally just based on a World War II overhead game mixed with Ultima Underworld, basically introducing the FPS as simply a unique combination of two other games. Most video games today are still considered games because that's what their designs are based on: other games. But the game design doesn't totally control the player input, because the plot is still what defines the motivation and characters of a game. The plot and game design are therefore meant to work together, with the player input having the most priority over how the other two are shaped. That doesn't mean a game should offer absolute player freedom, it means that the three variables need to work together. Numerous games have begun to focus on new topics such as managing a household, babysitting, or taking care of a pet, reflecting this motif. In this vein, then, what are some other examples of video games whose player input reflects their topic?