21 January 2011

Making Jump-Out-Of-Your-Seat Moments in a Game - by Brice Morrison

      Posted 01/20/11 11:10:00 am  

This post originally ran on game design site The Game Prodigy.  Visit for more articles on useful and applicable game design.

In our final article detailing the Game Design Canvas, we talked about the Aesthetic Layout, the icing on the cake, the visuals and sounds and interaction methods that give games their artistic spark.  Many games are revered for their gameplay, but not as many games nowadays are praised for fun Aesthetic Layouts.

However, this is still an area ripe for innovation.  Playing with visuals, sound, or interaction in a way that hasn’t been done before is a highly underestimated way to add originality and memorable moments to games.  Some of my all time favorite anecdotes from childhood game experiences come from these little Aesthetic surprises, that are built not from the Base Mechanics or the P&R Systems, but from the developer’s fun ideas about making it more than a game and bringing it into a real world experience.

To illustrate, I’d like to highlight three of my favorite Aesthetic surprises, all of which made me practically jump out of my seat and say, “Wow!  This is so fun!”  With an open mind centered around a game’s Core Experience, developers can easily create these kinds of moments in their own games.  Thinking outside the box in this area also makes your game very noteworthy; it’s definitely the kind of moment that would be shared online or in person with fellow players.

Note that this post contains spoilers for all three of these titles.  So if you’re ready, my three picks for the best jump-out-of-your-seat-moments:

Star Tropics’ Secret Letter

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