Busy schedules and video games

Gamers have one common  enemy in mind: a busy life. It’s hard to squeeze in time to play video games when there are dishes to do and money to be made.

With that in mind, developers are now taking time as a big consideration in game design. Here are five things that a time-friendly game should consider

1. Length

If it’s a long game, it takes up a long time. Game length plays a large part when gamers try to consider if they should pick up a game or not. This is one of the core factors as to why mobile got big: they are portable and they showcase short bursts of rewarding gameplay.

On the other hand, long games also have their charm if they are rewarding enough. Roleplaying games for example are infamous for how long they take but are heralded as one of the most rewarding genre to experience. This relationship between length and reward should be balanced and mastered to deliver a non-boring experience.

2. Pacing

The counterbalance to game length. Pacing is defined as the rate by which the game unravels its parts to the player. It’s how the game creates a flow of events and mechanics like a well-written movie. Many platformers like Super Mario and MegaMan often throws different hurdles at the right time: It’s not just one block to jump over again and again, it’s enemies with guns, enemies that jump, complex platforming, all rounded off with a boss at the end of the stage that makes these titles well loved.

Bad pacing is when you deliver huge chunks of gameplay mechanics on one part and then follow it up with nothing but repetitive gameplay. Good pacing should spread all the mechanics evenly, easing up players and building anticipation up until the end3

3. Learning Curve

Learning curve is a huge part in the player’s decision on whether to play or skip your game. Oftentimes, games with low learning curve but good gratification become viral. This made games like League of Legends and Overwatch garner a huge playerbase: they are both accessible in terms of their mechanics. It doesn’t require deep understanding of its skills, calculations, and techniques in order to have fun and that’s what’s important. A good video game should be understood by the player by actually playing it with little to no tutorials.

You roll a dice, you move. Point and click and your avatar will move. Press a button, you attack.

Keeping things simple and accessible goes a long way in garnering many players and promoting your game as a healthy and casual multiplayer experience

4. Story

Stories come in a lot of forms. From intense roleplaying games to simple board games like chess, story should be present in any game or it’s all just numbers and calculations. There should be a hero, a king, an enemy, an army, anything that pokes creativity in the player’s mind. Chess for example is a story of kingdoms at war represented by its pieces on the board. Elaborate games like Dungeons and Dragons and video games inspired by it like Baldur’s Gate have their own lore and characters that interact and paint a vivid world. Stories help players form a connection with the game through its characters and setting and makes the overall experience of a video game more immersive and personal

5. Accessibility

A well designed game should be able to be run on most PCs that can be purchased around the time it is released. Heck, if it can be played using only a ten year old then it would be better. Accessibility plays a huge role in garnering a huge player base. Many online multiplayer games often have low-spec requirements compared to AAA titles. This is because low requirements allow much more players to enter the game.

Aside from technical accessibility, it should be accessible via its mechanics. Similar to learning curve, more complicated to learn games like older RPGs often gain less attention because only the most hardcore players enjoy them. It demands too much time to learn and to have fun. A good multiplayer game should be accessible to allow more players to play it, making the “multi” part of multiplayer truly shine.

These are just five things that can help you design or choose a perfect game. Of course, these are not set in stone and if you have defined your tastes then feel free to ignore these. Gaming after all is about experiences. Still, we at Gameout are here to play with you. Don’t be afraid to drop by, let’s play a game or two.

What do you work gaming into your busy life?
Comment @gogameout


“The 13 principles of gaming design” Gamasutra, February 2009