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  • Results from the Game Design Challenge: Satire

    - staff and Jill Duffy
  •  In a recent game design challenge, you were tasked with developing a game concept that satirized both one theme of your choice and video games in general.

    This was a difficult challenge, and the submissions reflected it. It seems that not many readers are worked up about particular themes and topics to such the extent that they want to rip into them in a satirical way. Most submissions focused more on pointing out typical flaws in video games than any other theme. For example, more submissions played on Final Fantasy than on the upcoming U.S. presidential election -- and politics is among the most common themes in works of satire that there is. It was a very difficult challenge, indeed.

    Unlike other challenges in this series, there was a lot of room here to express personal opinions, but very few people really took advantage of that.

    This brings up a good point: the aspiring game designers who are readers of this site might be at a stage in their learning and career paths where their focus is on acquiring and internalizing foundational game design skills (such as game mechanics and prototyping). A focus of this nature often precludes the ability to focus on the kinds of skills that will be developed later, like one's artistic voice. But eventually, all game designers should be asking themselves, "What is it that I have to say through my games?"

    The answer doesn't have to involve satire or politics or morals or education -- but it does have to be something. For now, think on it, and give it time.

    In the meantime, check out the three best entries.

    Best Entries
    Christopher H. Abeel, TRG Tester, OVERBEAR
    (see page 2)

    My mom, a forthright woman when she wants to be, likes to remind me from time to time, "All children hate their mothers at a certain points in their lives. We do everything right for you, we give you everything we can, we sacrifice our own lives, but you will hate us anyway." Just as its inevitable that all children resent their mothers at some point in their lives, Christopher H. Abeel's game Overbear overdramatizes the inevitability that all parents are a little too involved in their children's lives. He invokes a "god game" style to further his point.

    David G. Saunders, Eternal Happiness (see page 3)
    I have a feeling David G. Saunders was sitting around one day and thought to himself, "You know what this world needs to do? It needs to start picking on hippies again." His game idea, Eternal Happiness, teases video game players by not giving them an army of undead, but an army of Grateful Dead followers. Check out his list of names for game levels, too.

    Altug Isigan, casual writer, Super Break-In (see page 4)
    Altug Isigan's idea doesn't quite satirize video games exactly, but I appreciated how he wrote his submission as if it were marketing material for the game rather than send in a cut-and-dry game design document.

    Honorable Mentions: Artwork (see page 5)
    Luca Breda, Bobby Thomas, and Matthew Oztalay.


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