Clint Hocking, creative director at Ubisoft consistently makes me think and challenges me as a game designer. On his blog, he talks about an impressive card game that lets people explore the concept of gluttony. As a game design challenge for myself, I wanted to design a videogame that lets people explore the mechanics of gluttony. All of the following is on the fly designing and I haven’t edited it all.
When I think of gluttony, the concepts that come to mind are:
All are negative and fairly easy to put into a game. There must be a mechanic that allows the player to “eat”, to acquire something that is of value, yet there are consequences which in addition to the benefits, make the player SLOW, HUGE, CUMBERSOME and UGLY. Once that system is figured out, you can tie those negative consequences to the game. For example, say we are making a 2D platformer and as you acquire stars, you grow in size. The more stars you acquire the more your fame grows and that translates into points. Yet, the consequences are that your avatar will move much more slowly the larger you get. This will hurt your ability to acquire more stars that move faster than you or to avoid obstacles that get in your way. You’ll also become much larger, which will prevent you from acquiring harder to reach stars. It will make your movement cumbersome, you won’t be able to navigate tricky areas, you’ll have to go out of your way to find easier, alternate routes. Maybe you won’t be able to jump as high, won’t be able to crouch or may even fall down sometimes. Lastly, you’ll become UGLY and the people that adore you will soon find you repulsive and run away.
I was just typing this on the fly and suddenly, I realize while the mechanics are about gluttony, they can also be about greed and this could be a metaphor for people who seek fame. Those who seek to be famous, sometimes end up making themselves look ugly (plastic surgery) or they do things that make their personalities repulsive. With the new fame comes many demands for time and therefore, they move more slowly. They become “HUGE” as in, very visible and unable to escape the public eyes.
So, this was really fun, choosing a theme and coming up with a game on the fly. Question for you, would anyone play this?
© 2008, Reid Bryant Kimball. All rights reserved.