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What's hard about a game should also be what's interesting about it.
This is something that’s foundational enough to my beliefs about game design that I want to publish an article about it that I can point back to, but it’s also simple enough that I’m not sure there’s a full article’s worth to even be said about it. What’s hard about a game should also be what’s interesting about it. It’s the reason some reviewers disliked the focus on meter management in Pathologic 2, where the interesting stuff is the mystery and atmosphere. It’s the reason why it’s frustrating to have your choices overturned by QTEs in Until Dawn, a game that sells itself as a game of decisions and not one of controller memorization. It’s the common thread behind these house rules for card and board games that seek to eliminate memory- and inexperience-based challenge in order to emphasize interesting strategic-based challenge. It’s the reason why my proposed changes to Akiba’s Trip combat are “specifically looking to reduce uninteresting difficulty - things that are hard for stupid reasons. This actually allows for increasing difficulty in more interesting ways.” What’s hard about a game should also be what’s interesting about it.