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Orson Scott Card on Games, 21 Years Ago 121

MilenCent writes "Long long ago, Orson Scott Card wrote a game opinion column for Compute! Magazine. In the November 1983 issue, he had some interesting things to say about the essential ingredients of a great game, all arguably still important today. He picked out one company that, at the time, consistently excelled in most of these areas--try to guess which one! Additional commentary over at Curmudgeon Gamer."
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Orson Scott Card on Games, 21 Years Ago

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  • by SteelV ( 839704 ) on Saturday February 18, 2006 @08:01PM (#14752227)
    It has been said a lot, but it really seems like most games today try to focus on having amazing graphics, and then move onto focusing on gameplay later, if ever.

    Some games manage to innovate both gameplay and graphics, but they are rare. A lot of sports games have played essentially the same for the past 5 or 6 years, with only graphical updates. Most FPS games are similar, with just better graphics (physics is an exception, but that's not really gameplay when it just has to do with rolling barrles after an explosion... only when, like in HL2, it's used for essential elements of the game like strategy, etc.).

    Hopefully more games will be made that innovate, like Darwinia (, which looks alright, but has amazing and unique gameplay.
  • by SlashThat ( 859697 ) on Saturday February 18, 2006 @08:34PM (#14752360)
    I've re-read Ender's Game lately (written in 1985), and was amased by some of the predictions Orson made in just one book. The "network", online news and bloggers (Locke and Demosthenes), hand-held devices used for education (we only start seing them now). Damn, I think we shouldn't be surprised if we see the buggers real soon! :)
  • by Mrcowcow ( 931085 ) <mrcowcow@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday February 18, 2006 @10:44PM (#14752767)
    You can avoid the ads and the hassle and just get the file here. [] Everything you need to play it is in the .zip.
  • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Saturday February 18, 2006 @11:01PM (#14752810) Homepage
    You are correct but they're still just making incremental improvements to the same game. It's like taking a 2002 GMC sierra and comparing it to a 2003 GMC sierra. It still does everything the same, just better.

    On the other hand, a segway was real innovation. It was a flop, but it was an innovative flop.

    I can't say I'm happy with any recent innovations in the gaming industry. The MMORPG concept was pretty revolutionary, but nothing much new is happening now. It's the same basic rules with a new skin, better graphics, etc. Get a license from LucasArts and call it Star Wars Galaxies. Sure it had a better crafting system, but it wasn't THAT different.

    There are times when a game seems to finally get a genre right... like command and conquer did with RTS's, or planetside did with real squad based tactics FPS (it's the only game persistent enough that you can ever hope to group with the same people on a regular basis).

    I just bought Sid Meier's Pirates! which I originally played on the Nintendo (8 bit) and again on the PC (Pirates Gold!). Nothing too original in this one, but still a fun game, but I only bought it for old time's sake.

    I used to play a game made with CGA graphics called "project space station". You had to run NASA and build a space station in orbit, run experiments, launch satellites, keep the orbiter fleet running, etc. That was innovative. Sim city was innovative. Sim City 4? Nope. Second Life is innovative (but I haven't seen it yet). The Sims is pretty innovative. But the Sims 2? Nope. What number are we up to on Civilization now?

    I truly believe that we've begun the human age of sequels, and I don't think it's ever going to end. That's sad.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.