Fulfillment of Expectation

Game design is still a relatively new and unrefined science, and consequently it is difficult to understand the important aspects required of an enjoyable game.   One aspect I have identified recently through my own playing is the idea of fulfilling player expectations.  This is the idea that players will look to push boundaries and limits of a game by using the controls they have become intimate with.  In this post I will mention two games, Halo 4, and an indie game called Shovel Knight.  In Halo 4, the main character is blessed with an uncanny ability to jump incredibly high in the air.  As a result, I often will see ledges or elevated platforms in the game, and try my hardest to jump up there.  That may not be the point of the game, but I am still compelled to reach it as a means of testing my limits.  Lazy developers placed many invisible walls throughout the game, and most of these platforms can not be reached.  Wasting my time, and aggravating the player.  Shovel Knight on the other hand, has a much simpler control scheme, only using about 3 buttons on the controller.  However, it displays superior design by hinting at alternate paths that are harder to reach.  But through mastery of the controls, there is an execution challenge demonstrated, and once compelled to do so, the player can achieve success in the game by challenging himself to reach that one random platform that seems out of the way of the level.  My point is that this system is rewarding, and much more compelling because of the design.  Shovel Knight is actually a 2D game, very different from Halo 4’s modern graphics.  Yet I would argue that this 2D game made on probably 1/100th of Halo’s budget is a much better made game, because they follow proper design elements.  


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