Friday, 22 January 2010

Context of game play is key - Part 2

I'm playing a few classic older games at the moment:
  • Fallout 3
  • Mass Effect
  • Bioshock
All great games circa 2007-8. Why so old?

Up to recently, I didn't have much of a chance to play games. I lived with my Grandfather, he had 1 TV, he watched it a lot. This meant if I wanted to play any console game I had to wait for him to walk away from the TV (not a regular occurrence). Then I would sneak on and have a gaming frenzy.

Unfortunately as that wasn't that often, I was reduced to playing games on my old conked out PC. In the cold cold cold spare bedroom. If I wanted to play a game I'd have to wrap up like a Michelin man. Unsurprisingly I fell out of the habit.

"I'm off to game!"

That's a major problem with games, they take up an entire living room. If you're playing, it's hard for someone else to be in the room doing something else. One of you will distract the other. There's a great shot of me playing Dead Space Extraction in the front room with headphones on, trying to be discreet. I managed to distract the housemates watching TV by flailing my arms around (physical attacks in the game) and jumping (scary bits).

The solution? There is none. Get headphones, get a PSP/DS... That's about it. You're then either still taking up the TV or playing on a much smaller screen. Players know you need a room, it's one of the prices of entry (you know, in addition to the actual prices for games/equipment themselves).

It also has an implication for how you go about playtesting games - natural environment (in the lab or in the players homes), familiar company (friends and family), etc, etc. This is a further blog post for another day though...

Coming up shortly - iPhone Pocket God playtest! oooooo...

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