Which Comes First, the Mechanic or the Aesthetic?

Not really a real question, to be honest, just something to say. I’ve been working on the new game, called All’s Well That Ends Well for a few days now and the prototyping of the basic mechanics is pretty much done. That’s a (partial) screenshot of it to the left, obviously, though with placeholder graphics “in the style of” what I’m thinking for the actual game.

The key element of the screenshot you can see is this idea of a plane repeatedly crashing and being left “realistically” posed on the terrain below. The idea is of repeated death and of memories of that death, like the corpses left behind in many other video games. But pushed to an extreme for a particular effect.

Anyway, looking at the image the game made I found myself wondering what came first in my imagination when I was coming up with the game. Did I first think about the mechanic of repeated death (crashing planes) and the traces of that death (crashed planes)? Or did I first think of a landscape strewn with crashed planes and a sky full of missiles?

One kind of requires the other – but which came first?

16 November 2011
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