'A Game Isn't a Series of Interesting Decisions'


Do we have too many strategists (or at least, strategy fans) in the game design kitchen? Chris Bateman seems to think so — and that may account for the idea that 'a game is a series of interesting decisions' (well, that and a misquote from Sid Meier). 'Game' doesn't (and shouldn't) just mean 'strategy game,' but that's often how it gets used:

I believe the videogames industry has an ongoing problem, in that a large proportion of the people who influence the game design process prefer Strategic play to other kinds of play. But as the audience for games has exploded into the mass market, strategy games (and other forms of Strategic play, such as adventure games) have become niche titles, with even the most popular titles selling no more than a few million units at most, while games with a wider appeal can rack up more than ten million units (as Dr Kawashima's Brain Training, GTA: San Andreas, Guitar Hero and The Sims all demonstrate in wildly different ways).

A good strategy game may well be a series of interesting decisions – but a good game is something that meets the play needs of its audience. If you want to make games for the new videogames market, you'd better start striving to understand just what those diverse play needs might involve.

Certainly, plenty of games are a series of interesting decisions, but as Bateman points out, it doesn't mean all games are, and many super-successful games don't fit the paradigm.

A Game Isn't a Series of Interesting Decisions [Only a Game]