Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Game Dev Quote of the Week: Gygax vs. Meier Edition

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 5, 2014

white_plumeFrom the world of both dice & paper gaming and computer gaming:

Designing games for Gary Gygax was certainly very inspiring, but I’d have to say that working with Sid Meier at MicroProse was even more influential. Gary taught me how to make complicated games; Sid taught me how to make simple ones.”  — Lawrence Schick

Taken from “Reminiscing About White Plume Mountain” at nerdragenews.com.

I could probably use some lessons from Sid Meier. Honestly, so much of my formative years and thoughts on gaming came from the works of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, the books derived from their rules, or games inspired by them. I’ve no doubt it’s given me a permanent bias in my design approach, in spite of years of experience pushing me in different directions.

I really do tend to over-complicate things. Part of it is that I love digging into intricate systems and futzing with all the moving parts and seeing how I can leverage the interactions. And part of it is because I really dig the simulation side of things. This isn’t always a good thing. While it can be great for a game to have verisimilitude, and it can be great for a game to have a strong narrative, we can’t ever lose sight of the fact that games must be allowed to be games.

Though I’d encourage you to read the whole interview. It’s not long. But I want to include one extra quote, because it’s awesome:

If you want to become a game designer for video games, study tabletop board games and RPGs, because their game mechanics are all right there on the surface; you can see all their systems, tinker with variations, and analyze what works and what doesn’t.

So there you have it, aspiring game designers. Go beyond studying other video games!

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