From the Skinny Banter #1:
If you could take your favorite game elements of all time and combine them into the ultimate digital experience – the one game to rule them all – what would it be? How would it work? Describe your digital nirvana, build your ultimate game from the still twitching parts salvaged from other titles.
- The item-based flow and “leveling” of the Zelda series
- The haunting psychological puzzles of Myst and The Room
- Multiple characters and group configurations ala Final Fantasy 6
- The post-apocalyptic fantasy setting of ShadowRun
- The social mechanics of pre-Web BBS-type MUDs
- Half-life/Portal calibre story and writing
The one thing guaranteed to draw me into a game? A great story: filled with mystery and emotion and generously sprinkled with humor. After that, the rest is icing. Great game play mechanics combined with a crap story still make for a crap game. Amazing graphics without heart just make me sad.
So we start with a great story, and introduce a medley of diverse characters (a la Final Fantasy 6, where roles aren’t concrete but their unique play styles offer opportunities for mixing and matching). Instead of making me grind through random encounters to gain XP, let me solve complex, natural puzzles. (Contrived and obvious puzzles aren’t nearly as fun as puzzles that unveil themselves over time and exploration.) As the story progresses, the cast will find items that grant them new, game-changing abilities (that then open up new areas for exploration).
The cast will explore a futuristic world that combines science and magic in extraordinary new ways (always a fun opportunity for solving puzzles). One moment I may be jacking into a network to steal corporate data, the next in a wild gunfight full of flying bullets and fireballs. And just when I think that I’ve explored the game world, the vista opens up into the solar system or galaxy …
Real-time combat with multiple characters would be hard to pull off by myself, so I can be joined by real friends and random people in my local area. The game will have built-in message boards for player-created quests and journaling, ranking lists, and player-hosted/policed chat channels (not unlike IRC) to avoid the tediousness of the general chat channel.
When not at the console/computer, I’ll still be able to interact with the game world through the boards/channels to carry on conversations, make trades, and set up plans for my next missions.