This week I got angry. I read an article on Gamasutra by Ernest Adams (of No Twinkie Database fame) entitled “The Tao of Game Design.” And during the process of reading, I felt the kind of inner-excitement I only feel when I disagree with something.
So to say that I became angry isn’t quite true. It’s just that my vice is debate, and so when I spot something I disagree with I gain an urge to speak out against it, an urge that just won’t go away until I fall into temptation.
So if you now look at the end of the article in the comments section, you can see some of the “excited” messages I left. If you need to know, I post under my name: Steven Turner.
Now it’s been a few days, and after looking back at it, I see what bothered me. It wasn’t what he was trying to say, it was the details. His point was good, but he lead up to it with things that, first of all, I still don’t think are correct (his observations about media, his juxtaposition of making a game fun or making it meaningful), and second of all, didn’t really have anything to do with his main point. It was an awkward article, full of the kinds of assumptions that tweak me, full of filler, but with a decent (but definetly not eye-opening or discipline-expanding) conclusion.
To really get what Adams was saying, I recommend that you don’t read the article. Instead, read the comment left towards the end by one Jacek Wesołowski. You’ll get the point and you’ll understand it better.
For now, I’m going to try and let the technical stuff lie. I know in my heart of hearts that Adams wasn’t really suggesting that fun games and meaningful games are diametrically opposed to one another, or that games are the only medium which require participation and thought from both the designer and the reader (technically, they all do), it’s just that he was probably trying to stretch out his essay a little bit.
So to Adams, who will very likely never read this…