Game Design challenge, for everyone

Inspired by Psychochild weekly design challenges. Here’s one everyone can do.

Read the idea below (the one about the David Perry game). I just figured out that the concept has one MAJOR flaw. Figure it out what is it.

Hint: it’s about the market the game will have and it’s not a detail of game mechanics (so don’t look for exploits or incongruence, the flaw is somewhere else). The “Green Monster slogan” about “not designing a game for yourself” can also offer an hint as this flaw is an application of that rule.

Enough hints, I’ll write here the answer on Wednesday. :)

Answer –

Not really in the mood to talk today but I’ll finish this. Ubiq in the comments was the one who went nearer to what I meant. I don’t exactly agree with him because I believe in the validity of a product outside the marketing rules. Marketing rules may make a product enter the market more easily or not, but I don’t see those as determinant.

Ubiq in the past has wrote about games and localizations (for example I remember that post with the western and eastern types of castles). I’ve always criticized that position because I believe we are moving outside cultural ghettos. A franchise like Final Fantasy couldn’t be more foreign in the appeal to the western market, but today it is popular and recognized worldwide. There are of course many other examples even outside games like typical anime and manga but not limited just to the japanese culture. However it’s still valid the observation that you may “miss” on the theme if it’s not part of your culture, even if this still hasn’t stopped games like the latest Battlefield or Supreme Commander. In this case I think than more than themes that rule works for genres. It would be hard making a good JRPG for a western studios (the few I’ve seen were quite awful).

Instead the flaw I identified was about a division within. Males and females. Robots, car, machines have always been extremely male-oriented. As a kid you play with trucks, cranes, robots, muscled figures, things like that. Girls play with dolls, or at least this is the common place. Either way I doubt the gamer girl would find appealing a game about robots and mech parts. I believe that a good chunk of the potential, now dormant market is represented by those female gamers that today are increasing in number and that pretend to not be seen as weird exceptions. Hopefully till the point that we don’t even need anymore to remember that distinction.

So my idea is “guilty” of favoring just one half of the market. And, while this happens regularly, I still think it’s a relevant flaw especially for a game that is supposed to work on the “free” model, so trying to capture the attention of the casual players. A category that I believe can be also well represented by women.

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