I swore to myself today that I would start a series of posts on Get X Avoid Y that I’ve been meaning to write for approximately three months. The idea was just to pick up on some thematic “stuff” that the game does (in my opinion) as a way to explain a bit better why I think it was interesting – because it was one of those games that didn’t necessarily have much written about it by The Press (thanks for nothing, The Press), and so there isn’t much interpretation out there. So let’s see…
(I’m trying to get back into regular writing so forgive me in advance when I don’t manage to say something smart most nights.)
I was thinking last night, as I played NCAA 14 for the umpteenth time, about “reps” in games. I’ve also been thinking about this because I’m being exposed to that whole “core gameplay loop” business you read in standard game design textbooks and blog posts – the Holy Loop. That is, that games importantly consist of some (totally awesome) action you repeat over and over again. In NCAA 14 for me this is “play one play as a middle-linebacker for Alabama”. Over and over again. And I was thinking about how other games deal with this action-loop, and in particular how it gets made meaningful in different ways.
One thing I really enjoyed in making MANIFEST was its relationship to fiction. Initially I wanted to “stick some fiction in it” just to make it less bland, less like it was obviously just a slot machine (the original idea, as I’ve said before, was pretty much entirely “slot machine for desires”). But of course once you start with fictional stuff, it’s always so alluring and fun.