Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Game design is no place for “perfectionism”

No game can be perfect–it depends so much on the audience, the individual player, the mood, the group (if played by a group), even the timing of creation and publication.

A game that “doesn’t get in the way” may be perfect for a group of friends to play, but dull for a group of strangers who are going to concentrate more on the game and less on the players.

The Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns always applies, in games. There is always a way to improve the game, but it may not be worth the time it will take to find that improvement, and the risk of “disimproving” when you change it. A “perfectionist” can never finish a game.

As someone once said about models in general– a game is a model of something–we need idealists to make models, not realists: people willing to recognize that the model cannot be perfect, people who will discover what the essence of the question is and concentrate on that, rather than try for the “perfect” solution.

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