||[Mar. 24th, 2011|04:42 pm]
Dave Sirlin has games for sale. As someone who has been following his writing for a long time, I think that this is really cool, and an awesome thing for independent game design. If I can scrounge up the cash I will almost certainly buy Yomi, although the art style is incredibly off-putting (really, Dave? Do you really need gargantuan tits and naked chicks to sell your games? Really?)|
One of the things that struck me about these games, though, and his writing, is that although his understanding of games is very deep, his view also seems very narrow. His games -- which I have no doubt are impeccably balanced -- are basically turn based incarnations of Puzzle Fighter and Street Fighter. In a recent theory article, he was discussing Dominion, and he was really incapable of seeing that the generally non-attacking nature of Dominion was a feature, not a disappointment. This was because he compared it to Street Fighter and Puzzle Fighter. He lacked the idea that someone who likes games could not like head-to-head competition in their games, basically missing an entire genre of game design (actually, at least two genres, but one of which is only occupied by one game*) because his focus on those two games, both of which are essentially two player head-to-head games wherein you hit the other guy.
I wonder if here there is a difference between designers qua designers and critics cum designers (not to in any way invalidate Sirlin as a designer: he's a good one.) I'm thinking also of the RTS designed by the US Starcraft champion (can't recall the name offhand), which was a little too clean, a little too sharply defined.
You can see a similar phenomenon in Sirlin's changes to the Street Fighter II characters for HD Remix: basically all characters get adjusted to be more the same (every fireball-lacking character gets a fireball busting move, for example.)
I'm not sure that this has a point yet. It's a half-formed thought.
* King of Siam**
** Which is awesome and needs to have more games based on it. ***
*** Working on one.