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  • Game Design Challenge: The Pen is Mightier than the Fist

    - Danny Cowan
  •'s Game Design Challenge is an exercise in becoming a game developer, asking you to look at games in a new way -- from the perspective of a game creator, producer, marketer, businessperson, and so forth.

    Every month, we'll present you with a challenge about developing video games. You'll have two weeks to brainstorm a brilliant solution (see below for how to submit your answers). After the two week submission period elapses, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted.

    The Challenge

    Design a versus fighter that does NOT feature traditional fighting game mechanics.

    Assignment Details

    With the recent release of Street Figher V, Capcom's flagship one-on-one fighting franchise is once again in the spotlight. While the series is best known for helping to lay the foundation for the fighting game genre, it also spawned Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, a competitive puzzler that swaps out flying fists and feet for tile-matching, combo-chaining puzzle mechanics. Though Capcom never revisited its mechanics for a sequel, Puzzle Fighter is fondly remembered today, and competition remains fierce among veteran players.

    For Game Career Guide's latest Game Design Challenge, your job is to design a one-on-one fighter that that does NOT feature traditional fighting game mechanics.

    You can explore any genre you wish for your entry, but your game must feature physical combat between two characters at its core. It's up to you to determine how the player triggers attacks and counterattacks during gameplay without relying on fighting game mechanics, ala Puzzle Fighter. For example, consider a competitive pinball game where life-draining combos are executed by hitting certain bumpers, or a point-and-click adventure where you solve puzzles to inflict damage on your opponents in a martial arts tournament.

    It can be difficult to work within an established genre without relying on its core mechanics, but Puzzle Fighter's unconventional approach to its source material made it a memorable hit. Feel free to get creative with this one, and good luck!

    To Submit

    Work on your ideas, figure out your strategy for coming up with a solution, and ask questions on the forums. When your submission is complete, send it to [email protected] with the subject line "Game Design Challenge: The Pen is Mightier than the Fist." Please type your answer directly in the email body -- do not submit .pdf or Word documents.

    Submissions should be no more than 500 words and may contain up to three images. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title.

    Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, May 18.

    Results will be posted Tuesday, May 24.

    Disclaimer: is not responsible for similarities between the content submitted to the Game Design Challenge and any existing or future products or intellectual property.


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