Inferiority Complex

I feel somewhat self-concious about writing about games. I feel OK writing about my impressions of specific games. After all, those are just my observations. I feel like I am on shakier ground when writing about more general issues in games, gaming, or game design, if for no other reason than I only have my experience to go by and it seems like others have a lot more experience than me. But, since this site is mostly a place to experiment with writing, I have tried to write about some larger issues, and have had some success and some failure.

During this period, I had the following experience a couple of times. I would start writing a fabulous article with some witty insight about the nature of games or game design. Then, halfway through, I would look up the phrases in google and find that Ernest Adams had already written much the same article years ago in his game design column at Gamasutra. I found this to be frustrating, but would post my piece anyway, reasoning that I had taken a slightly different angle on the subject, even if this reasoning was usually wrong.

Mr. Adams did this to me when discussing immersion in games. He did it too me again when discussing game length and replayability. He even beat me to the idea that Madden Football is really more of a strategy sim than a sports game. He’s also published most of my pet peeves against evil game designers in his classic set of twinkie denial articles. Of course, none of this should be surprising. He has spent more time building games than I’ve spent playing them.

Luckily, Pete is smarter than me. I am happy to report that for once Tea Leaves got the jump on Mr. Adams. In his most recent column at Gamastura, Mr. Adams lists a set of “Gamer’s Rights”, and lo and behold they overlap with Pete’s Gamer’s Bill of Rights from a while back while taking a somewhat different point of view.

It’s pretty cool for the web space I share to get a mention like this, even if, again, it’s a smarter guy than me doing the writing. As usual, Adams is completely right in every point that he makes, from the ability to control cut scenes, to the fact that games should tell you quickly if you have failed. But, what really warms my heart is the section in the piece on saving games: “The player’s right to save the game is absolute”. Amen brother and testify again. Truly this must mean that we are on the side of light and goodness here.

The only thing I see missing from the article is a heading that reads: The right not to have to fight a stupid Boss. On the other hand, I think the other items in the list point to the general truth that bosses are stupid.

Resources

The Game Designer’s Notebook is absolutely required reading. Twice. The No Twinkie series is particularly enjoyable.