Finding good video game writing on the web is by no means a difficult task. There are millions of video game blogs online ready and waiting for your perusal, which is why every month we select our favourite reading experiences based on a monthly topic. This month, with the Nintendo Switch’s focus on social play and human relations, we thought we’d take a look into the gaming community itself. What follows is our top picks from across the web, they take a look at everything from the prospect of developing a game without a team community around you, to how status functions within game communities, from players’ stories of their in-game rescuers, to the dangers of leaving the community out of the development loop.
Grab a coffee and enjoy.
Darby Costello opens his new series on creating and marketing his video game, Minesheeper, all by himself by recounting how there just isn’t enough time in the world to complete everything.
Nevertheless, Costello is refreshingly optimistic throughout his piece, introducing how he will be personally responsible for every aspect of the game’s design and who should undertake such a project. In the days of industrial powerhouses, the notion of a solo design project appeals.
Kenny Silva describes his high school days of playing Aliens Online with his squadron in efforts to demonstrate how, even though they sucked at the game, they aimed to eventually “rise to the top of the heap”. His argument is that the human being thrives on status and praise, and the gaming community is exemplary. In this vein, then, Silva calls for a gamification of gaming forums to tap into every player’s bragging rights.
“Ironically, the AAA publishers haven’t realized that the very thing that makes people use their forums—the drive not only to play video games but to go online and talk about them—is itself capable of being gamified”
From the Forums: The Mobile Gaming Community Shares Its Fondest App Store Memories – Rob Funnell, toucharcade
Rob Funnell calls the mobile gaming community to share their favourite app memories in order to demonstrate the fact that we need to take advantage of the vast array of titles on offer before they slip into the shadows. What follows is a love letter to mobile gaming signed by multiple members of the fan club.
Grayson calls the community together to discuss those hopeless moments that have unexpectedly been graced by the presence of a helping hand. In a landscape of adolescent verbal abuse, a sudden extension of human compassion is perhaps one of the most gratifying moments in gaming, so I fully respect these stories.
I also love the phrase ‘horrifying fuck demons’.
Nintendo’s secrecy over the Switch console was frustrating for many. For the staff at Just Push Start it led to negative community reactions in the widespread chatter of rumours and general system confusion.
This blogger cites the size and strength of the video game community as a result of the vast variation in genre and experience offered by the industry.
“At least in my experience, highly skilled players are respectful to those who are just starting out, as they’ve all been there too. Many of these communities encourage helping each other with learning the ins and outs of these games.”
Their favourite sub-community is one that deals with Super Smash Brothers and they use this as a springboard to talk about the unique level of community engagement gaming breeds. It’s an illuminating read that will warm your Dark Souls-deadened-heart.
Game Design Patterns for Building Friendships – Daniel Cook, GamasutraGame Design Patterns for Building Friendships – Daniel Cook, Gamasutra
This is a long one, as to be expected from the scholarly tomes encapsulated in Gamasutra’s site. Reading gaming theory is essential, in my view, for fully understanding the potential and reality of the industry as a whole and the games it manufactures, so i’ve decided to include some of my critical reading from the last month here. Cook essentially explores how game design can bring players closer together in online shared play experiences through certain choices, mechanics, and environments.
Through four factors of friendship, Cook maps a structure of game design that can tap into man’s desperate desire for social communication to reap the in-game rewards that can arise from a dedicated, unified community of players.