Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mega Man

Mega Man was the first game that let me choose which stage I wanted to do. I suppose I could include Bionic Commando in this list as well. Yet, Mega Man brought more than just stage selection to how I view game design. It brought reward for defeating a difficult boss, and it brought a sense of purpose to the powers you got. Sometimes an ability was not powerful, but useful. Mega Man X added a sense of the hidden. Suddenly, not only was I going through a stage, but there were hidden areas that also boosted your power.

The biggest thing that Mega Man X brought to me was the importance of movement. The way you move in a game is so important, that any game like it, with bad movement, immediately is not only worse, but bad.

Now, Mega Man to me is about learning a pattern and executing a counter pattern. You find a weakness and you attack it. Some enemies you avoid, others you attack. There is more than one way to face a scenario.

In game design, I feel it is important, especially when creating a puzzle, that there be more than one solution. This may feel counter intuitive to certain puzzles (and it is), but quite often, a solution that stares a designer in the face, is completely lost on the player.

With Mega Man, you can try weapons until one works. Often you find a weapon you think works, but is simply more effective than the regular shot. Many times, you can guess which weapon to use. So Mega Man to me was about variety and choice as well.

So putting it all together, a good game to me has variety, choice and a proper reward for handling a difficult situation or for exploring. Now most people who look at game design, will say, “No, duh!”, but I learned all this from Mega Man.