To: The Game Industry|
From: Gen Katz, Editor
Topic: Games on Paper Plates
Date: Apr 2011
How you serve-up your game shows a great deal about what you think it's worth. When I take the time to make a fancy five course dinner I don't serve it on paper plates. The work involved rates a white tablecloth, silver and china.
What kind of presentation do your games make? Mostly the first thing your gamers see, or don’t see when they open the manual are paragraphs upon paragraphs with: WARNING - Seizures; WARNING - Radio Frequency Interference; WARNING - Repetitive Motion Injuries and Eyestrain; WARNING - Battery Leakage; Important Legal Information; Caution - Sylus Use; Motion Sickness, CAUTION - Wrist Strap Use; Electric Shock Hazard; Epilepsy and Pinching - yes pinching. It begins to feel like an assignment for a crash-test dummy.
If your gamers are game, now they can finally start the game. I know you all feel that gamers have intimate knowledge of the device your game is being played on. Not so. New players are constantly joining. Would it be such an imposition to provide a layout and button assignment?
We are now into navigating the start section of the game. Two words that belong inexorably linked together are Start and Save. Otherwise your game is burnt toast, fallen soufflé, and separated Hollandaise and everyone is mad. Your gamer has invested her time to play, and it is wasted because the producer did not care enough to make a clear statement about Saving. Does the game save upon closing? Tell them - once the device is shut off it is too late. Where is it? On the Menu? How to access the Menu? Words are important and End doesn't mean Save.
Manuals are getting shorter and shorter. In-game instructions fly by and can not be reviewed. If designers don't care enough to communicate to their players what a great game this is and how to get the most enjoyment our of it, don't expect the gamer to treat it with respect.
So with all the work, sweat, money, time, heart and hope - serve it up well.