Super Smash Bros.: A showcase of Nintendo’s mechanics

Nintendo has created a cornucopia of characters and game worlds in their decades of game development. Each representing a different genre including: adventure with the Mario & Pokémon franchise, high fantasy with Zelda & Kid Icarus, sci-fi with Star Fox and Metroid, and beyond. Each unique character has allowed Nintendo to explore a vast variety of game…

Drawing a connection: mechanics & theme

Games today focus heavily on theme, whether we are talking about board games or video games, theme plays a major part in deciding what games get published. A byproduct of this mentality and marketing strategy is that we often see the exact same mechanics being reskinned over and over to sell to a demographic based…

Alien Creeps & Castle Creeps: how to properly reskin a game

Tower defense games are a well understood genre of game, the player begins a level with some resources, a few choices in defensive structures to build along a path, and then begins the match.  As enemy march on down the path they must defend, the player gains more resources, upgrading their defenses and laying down…

Rodeo Stampede: wrangling novelty

When we play mobile games we often expect for gameplay to closely resemble another game we’ve already played.  It is no secret that the mobile market has a bad case of “me too” game design, where we see developers cloning and tweaking successful games.  So it is refreshing to find a game which take a…

Design Home: player opinion as a mechanic

The thing that elevates a good game to a great game is its ability to make the players’ choices feel meaningful. Typically we think of mechanics as the tools and actions we use to complete the objectives of a game.  They can sometimes be reflections of the players personality, like in rpgs such as Dark Souls…

Educational games: content vs creator

Video games have become standard pastimes within the lives of modern children, thus educators have been seeking ways to use games to reach children. Games are engaging and make the player the driver of content instead of the teacher. Since games are experiences where players focus on completing objectives and growing, gameplay is an ideal…

LEGO Pandora: the use and misuse of intellectual properties in video games

There is an ongoing discussion within the game development community on whether the core of a gameplay experience is the mechanics the player interacts with or the narrative the experience creates. Narratologists side with the story as an experience whereas ludologists (ludology being the study of games and / or play in general) state that…