I’m plugging away at BREAKSOUT – roughly 26 exist in some form now and I’ve pulled together enough of Unchained Melody in Bosca Ceoil for it to sound pretty funny for GHOST BREAKOUT. As I do this labour (which, as I’ve said, is kind of mindless post-design) I sometimes question whether it makes sense to make these games at all.

That is, if the vast majority of interest for me in these games is the design itself, the ideas for the variations, why actually build them? Is the hypothetical set of 36 BREAKSOUTS equivalent to the actually built games?

I say no, and it’s important that this be the case. For one thing, I’m actually making them so I don’t want to hear about it being pointless. This may bias me. Nonetheless, I also think there’s something vital in the experience and interaction with these kinds of designs that makes their implementation necessary. We might well think that we can just thought-experiment our way through what something like GHOST BREAKOUT ‘would be like’ but I don’t think that we really can. The ‘Armchair designer’ we might call… no wait, that like a regular designer…

Anyway, my thought is that the experiential elements of a game cannot be presumed or even necessarily expected. And even when a BREAKSOUT game ‘works’ in the way I’d thought, that feels like something that isn’t the same thing as having the idea in the first place. Really listening to a lofi Unchained Melody while the paddle gets nudged around by an unseen force has a quality that isn’t present in the design itself.

I think there’s more to this than I’m managing to articulate, and it’s actually quite central to my whole ‘practice’ of making games in general. Many of the games I’ve made I could also have told to you as a one-liner kind of joke, or just written a description of, and yet the experience of play adds an understanding/emotion/physicality. And the game can’t be ‘understood’ without it.

It’s almost as if game-play is as important as game design or something…




17 August 2015
← next words previous words →