A Philosophy of Design — The Platform

I’m a gamer first and a programmer-designer second, as much as I like making something, playing it is really first and foremost in my mind. My drive is not so much in “hey I want to make this game”, its “why can’t I play this already!”. Its the total package though, the action of playing the game, what I get out of it, story, sound, the whole kit, but one of the biggest concerns for me is in using what a platform has to the advantage in the game. I’m a bit of a Sony fanboy, I’ll admit it, I went out and preordered the PSP and I still have that 1000 (loaded with BlazBlue and Monster Hunter Freedom 2 I might add) but for years, a consumer argument against the device that as lingered is the need for a second analog stick. To me, its not so much that the device needs it, but rather that the games designed for it need the second stick. Now this isn’t supposed to be what device is best, yadda yadda, I’m merely putting out an example, and Nintendo has done very well with the DS and having games designed around the strengths and functions of that system, which is one reason I’m not as frothing at the mouth about the 3DS as some of my friends are, simply because I want to see where the 3DS can come into play to make something that can only exist on the 3DS, not simply another whistle.

I bring this up because a friend and I were discussing designing games for the iPhone. His original idea was something like FPS, but it sounded like there would be a huge amount of buttons and UI controls for playing the game. For me, a truly successfully designed iPhone game is one that takes the limits and the perks of the system into consideration: the touch screen, the gyroscope, the one handed ease of use, the mobility, etc. I think “What can I do with one finger? One hand? One motion?” This isn’t meant to be limiting but rather to look to the strengths of a system. There’s a lot you can do with one finger; you’ve just got to figure out what they are.

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