I wrote a piece on LinkedIn recently supporting a Kickstarter game launch I was a part of. Titled, “4 reasons why you should support Weather Zen on Kickstarter” the piece got some attention. I laid out 4 points on why this game is worth supporting (summarized below). The purpose of the piece was to draw broad attention to the campaign. This wasn’t overwhelmingly successful as a strategy, however I think the design pieces highlighted in these 4 points encapsulate what I value in excellent product design: Story, Process, Finish, and Inclusivity. The points below explain how I think this project embodies those key aspects.
1. Story is important. Making your own story, more-so. Engaging narrative or plot, or the ability to create your own plot like Minecraft, keeps you involved more than complex games with little story or character development. Tetris and Candy Crush are addictive, but unlike Zelda, Mario, or Final Fantasy, I doubt we’ll be playing Tetris XII, or Candy Crush: Lollipop Hammer Cavity Quest in 20 years. Story is important to us.
2. How things are made is at least as important as what is made. More than a ‘it’s the journey, not the destination’ platitude, this idea underpins how this game was designed. This is also how I like to think of true collaborative development. Knowing that deep thought about each part produces better results than doggedly sticking to an initial design is powerful in theory and transformative in practice.
3. Beauty isn’t skin deep, it goes all the way to the pixels. Okay, I’ll admit that doesn’t make a lot of sense. What does make sense is a focus on high-quality art and sound design. Beautiful worlds help you to suspend disbelief and immerse yourself more fully in the game. That’s what gaming really is, immersion in an alternate reality. Why would you want to immerse yourself in something less than beautiful.
4. Thankfully the days are gone when computers and games were only designed ‘for the boys’. We all benefit when a broader demographic engages in gaming, computers, and technology. #Gamergate is a magnet for the lowest common denominator of internet trolls, but that does not mean that troglodyte ideas and ideals do not exist in the mainstream. Not all games designers are misogynists, and not all games exploit, denigrate, and demean women. Supporting games, like ours and many others, that portray women leads in ways that are positive and powerful supports developers and designers who make other games that portray women as strong, powerful, leads.
So, with all that in mind… go and support a great game.