Brandon Boyer

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The best thing Patapon creator Hiroyuki Kotani says in his new interview with Gamasutra is a simple lesson I wish more developers would learn:

In my previous career as a teacher, what I learned is that if my students are happy, they would learn more; so, we had to praise them rather than scolding them. So, that’s the biggest hint I got for the creation of games: I have to make the users happier, so they would feel like they are encouraged to go to the next stage.

It’s an obvious point (and one elaborated on very incisively at GDC 2008’s Treat Me Like A Lover session by Offworld columnist Margaret) but one that bears repeating.

As an example: one of the keys to Rock Band‘s success compared to Harmonix’s earlier rhythm games like Amplitude and Frequency wasn’t just the real-world fantasy of its plastic peripherals, but the subtle but constant reinforcement of just how brilliant you’re doing, what a fantastic rock star you actually are, when the in-game audience cheers your star-power successes and sings along to ‘your’ vocals when the full band’s maxing out their meters.

Developers: do more of this.

The Rhythm of Creation: Hiroyuki Kotani and Patapon [Gamasutra]

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  1. I’m a raving die-hard Cthulhu fan, yet when Bethesda Softworks issued “Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth,” I was outraged after only an hour of playing. Loyalty compelled me to keep playing until eventually even that meter went broke.

    This game, more than any other, exemplifies what happens when the developers (a) play their own game too much and (b) begin to think of themselves as the players’ adversary rather than their chaperone.

    Playing on “boy scout” mode, it was still the freakin’ hardest game in the world. As a survival horror, I’m used to certain conventions in the genre but this game was ridiculous. I made it to 48% before I realized I had better things in life than playing a game that made me furious.

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