Recently I’ve been playing a favorite game of mine, Call of Duty 4, and attempting the last level, Mile High Club, on Veteran difficulty (“You will not survive”). The goal? Get through an airplane of terrorists on the hardest difficulty in less than 60 seconds.
Knife the guy coming out of the bathroom on the left, get the two guys down the hallway in front, flashbang the other guys coming through the doorway, nothing too crazy.
After about an hour of mashing the “restart” button, running out of time seconds from the objective, and countless (BS) deaths, I finally jumped out of the plane victoriously, earning my 30 Gamerscore and proving to myself that I still got it after all.
I planned out my run, even though each attempt would be seconds long. I practiced. Kinda hard not to, when you die almost instantly on Veteran difficulty. And I had to improvise. Reloading my main gun took too long, so I grabbed guns off of the ground at a pace that would impress John Wick. This was all part of the game, and because of this, all three of the game design elements proudly showed itself off, even though it nearly drove me crazy.
This element of game design is present in any game worth its salt, so it came to no surprise that oldie-but-goodie Pac-Man had similar characteristics present as well when I went to go investigate the MS-DOS port. Even though it was a terrible port compared to the arcade version, it retained it’s core mechanics, and therefore, the game was still as playable as the arcade one (even though it looked ugly as sin). I talk more about this in the separate post I made just about Pac-Man, but overall, this trip down memory lane was a reminder that some elements of game design stay the same, even years later.
When we drafted common game design concepts, I was surprised at how many people recognized the “good” ideas from the bad. I attribute that to the fact that since just about everyone plays games, they recognize what works and what doesn’t work for them in the game. If someone can listen to music and recognize if something sounds bad without necessarily being a musician themselves, then I feel this is a fair comparison as well; game design is a universal notion for people, and our drafting of good game mechanics shows that much
Game design is always on the mind of developers, and even those who don’t even develop games, but just compose ideas for them. So when we looked at the game design ideas for our AUC counterparts , I couldn’t help but feel like there was a sense of synergy going on in regards to what they thought was good, and what I agreed with. I elaborate on this further in my recorded questions, but as a whole I really liked the aspect of being able to directly engage someone else in the concept of game design.
All in all, the past week was certainly an engaging one with lessons learned and the finer details finally being touched upon. That online board game is definitely gonna be a revisit for me, too. Gaming is one of my bigger hobbies, so going forward I hope to pay a little closer attention to these types of design elements as I play….assuming I don’t pull my hair out in frustration in the process, of course.