Increasingly I find myself drawn to games that have a sense of progression, a feeling of permanence, or some other ‘value’ beyond the immediate sensation of fun. I guess I’m a pretty ambitious, and long-term thinking person, so that naturally spills out into my gaming habits. I want my gaming time to be an investment.
Generally, my games have failed in this area. The very name of GSB suggests that it is pointless, a one-off bit of fun, to be enjoyed purely for the spectacle and the giggles. There is a high score table for the survival mode, but there are no achievements. There are unlockable items, but not a huge proportion of the options are locked. The game is more like a chest full of toys, than it is a linear, scripted and proscribed ladder.
Obviously there are gamers who prefer that. You’ve probably seen Dara O Brian lamenting the fact that he buys a game, but isn’t allowed to play it?
However, although I have some sympathy with that view, I also think that the worst cases of it can be worked around. I always remember my frustration in the D-Day landings part of Medal of Honor. After 15 deaths, I thought “Why the hell doesn’t the game kick in a script where a nearby soldier drags me to safety at this point? We all know I failed metaphorically here, so let me continue with the fun.”
The design of my next game is very much in flux, it’s more like GSB than any other of my other games, but it is not a straight GSB sequel or spin-off. It might be, in some ways, a bit simpler, but it will also have a lot more possibilities in others. It will have more of a feeling of progression than GSB did, and I am pretty sure it will be all the better for it.