Thursday, December 13, 2007

Messages in Games +

Originally Posted by Stronin:
I have a significant respect for will wright though, he's always shown he has a definte vision for games. I'll be interested to see how future titles of his incorperate that
That's pretty much where I am on this, too, Stronin.

The guy is obviously a great game designer; he's got a feel for rules of play that are fun, especially in a simulation context.

The thing is, does it help or hurt the game when there's some kind of social engineering message at its core, such as "using up natural resources is bad" (SimEarth) or "consumerism is bad" (The Sims)? On the one hand it's kind of annoying when as a gamer you realize you're being whacked over the head with some finger-wagging belief system treated as gospel over at Berkeley. But on the other hand wrapping your game around a meaningful message (whether people agree with it or not) can create an extremely powerful driver for gameplay design.

What about violent games? Do they send any kind of social "message?" What about MMORPGs, so many of which are almost nothing but the constant killing of mobs -- do they send a message different only in content from the kinds of messages embedded in Maxis games?