Solvevolve, is an attempt to make games of the kind I enjoy. To explain what sort of games one enjoys is a tough task, one can point to a fews games that one likes and hope others can make out the reasons behind. The better way would be to analyze the aspects which made us enjoy it. The following are few the aspects which I consider make games more “fun”
The reason why scientists become scientists is hoping that can unravel a mystery, the moment when something looks odd (makes no sense) and you pull a string of thought rather reluctantly only to unravel the complicated webbing. This is probably the most impressive thing about games.Games have better resources to pull it off compared to movies, books etc. The fact game designers can control the flow of the user interaction allows to hit that moment better than anything else. World design, level design all boil down how well they can hit this point. Few games which pulled this off superbly are Braid, Limbo etc.
I did it:
The sense of accomplishment is probably the most used (especially during the arcade and NES days) element, but is the most satisfying moments of gaming. This works wonderfully in tandem with the eureka moments, as completing that level justifies or proves the eureka moment. While it requires more investment in terms of time spent, the victory makes it that much sweeter. The moment the sense of accomplishment is tarnished is when there is a recurring feeling of “Haven’t I done this before?” (a mistake rhythm games make more often than not ). Few games which make it worthwhile to dump in dozens of hours are Super Meat Boy, Dark Souls etc.
Exploration is something which games should probably be the best in, they involve the highest level of user interaction, higher visual and audio tools for immersion but most games get caught up about providing bigger worlds, larger dungeons, hidden items etc as the common perception is that having more elements to explore improves replayability. People read and re-read the book a number of times, and everytime they have at least explored the entirety of book. What makes us read the same book periodically? I think its the sense of discovery finding a deeper understanding of a character/interaction. So the discovery can be made entirely in our mind instead of the hidden path, closed door systems that games have employed so effective. Its probably the most difficult thing for any medium to achieve, but definitely a quality which separates contemporary successes from classics. Journey is probably the only game that seemed close to achieving it.
While there are many other reasons and games I have personally enjoyed, I can’t think of any that belong in the same league as the above ones. We will be trying to create games with the above in mind. Being a novice game designers it will probably take us consider time to create games of value, I hope we will have support to help us reach such a level.