Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn.
I've been slowly forming game design ideals or future personal standards for creating games since at least the early 1980s. Whether you agree with them or not, below are some of my game design ideals. I'd love to make games using all of the ideals on this page, but I don't seem to have the imagination, skills and talent to make it happen.
Each section has at least one related link below it. Check out the links for more information about each subject.
Use controlled randomness whenever possible to keep a game fresh, so players are actually playing and not just memorizing patterns by dying and repeating the same moves as if they're learning dance steps.
If the game has enemies, never have them simply jump back and forth or move up and down as we've seen in countless Atari 2600 games. Enemies should have some type of intelligence. They don't have to be geniuses, but they should at least have a spark of intelligence that makes them seem alive. [This is only about enemies (people, animals, or other creatures), not mindless random obstacles such as asteroids, logs, or shopping carts.]
Frustration was a highly successful villainous tactic for getting people hooked on games and squeezing as much money out of them as possible, but a fun game without frustration is healthier for gamers. Players might think they feel good after 'beating' a frustrating game, but there is a good chance that players will be more aggressive and irritable whether they win or lose.
We have been force-fed lies about our true nature and reshaped to please malicious overlords for millennia, so competition has become a nasty habit that's hard for most of us to kick.
Keeping players in a constant fight or flight state is bad for their health. There must be a way to make fun games that won't damage the health of players. These fun games should increase happiness, relieve stress, and help players feel more relaxed. If people have a rough day at work or school, they can sit down, play a relaxing game and get away from it all for a little while. If game designers can help players relieve stress and just generally feel better after playing, they've done a good job.
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