Friday, June 30, 2006

Rip. Mix. Burn. The Vast Untapped Potential of Mixing Gaming Genres

Game designers and game "futurists" must start broadening their worldview by looking at all aspects of gaming, indeed at all aspects of life.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating: don't be myopic. There is a vast shared commonality between Eurogames, RPGs, CCGs, and even computer games. They all provide an entertainment value to the user. You could even add in movies and television, books, and so on that do the same.

There is still a vast richness to be tapped from one industry to another. Right now we are so excited about just being able to DO crosssovers, that we don't think much about how to do it well. Everywhere you look, you will find crossover material: books that are also games, board games that are also movies, movies that are also computer games. We can play a board game on a DVD. We can play a board game on a computer. Wow. Shiny.

That is just the scratching of the surface, my friends. Start reading computer game design blogs or RPG design blogs, or even entertainment industry news and absorb the way that each one is trying to tap the interest of their users. Admittedly, the entertainment industry news sources are the least helpful, since they generally treat their users like crap, but aside from that, there are whole other languages to discover.

RPGers talk about experiences, worlds, metaphors, characters, player to player relationships. Computer gamers talk about player contacts, social experience, immersion, context, massive scale, details. Board gamers talk about strategy, mechanics, analysis time, theme. All of these subjects are relevant to all game disciplines.

Even on the subjects where we overlap, such as theme or world, we talk about them differently. Reading the subject from another perspective can be refreshing.

I hope I am not alone here. I see computer game enthusiasts that write about computer games. I see ex-computer gamers who write about board games. RPGers who write about RPGs. Board gamers who write about board games.

Who writes about all games? Who takes gaming, all gaming, to be one great mix up of an experience? Is our audience so fragmented that you risk losing them when you talk about more than one genre? If so, this is a strange commentary on game players and readers.

Game genres have incubated in their own gene pools enough. They are strong enough now to start interbreeding with other species.

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