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Tim Schafer: Don't be limited by ideas of what games "should" be

“Interactivity is what’s unique about games, a powerful tool that can’t be ignored, but I don’t like limited ideas about what games 'should' be.”
"Interactivity is what’s unique about games, a powerful tool that can’t be ignored, but I don’t like limited ideas about what games 'should' be.”

-Tim Schafer shares his perspective on game development

Double Fine Productions founder Tim Schafer sat down with The Guardian to talk game development, resulting in an insightful quick-fire interview that touches on everything from the growing presence of diversity in games to what his daughter has taught him about development. 

Much of the wisdom Schafer has to offer developers in the full interview seems to come from how the industry has changed over the years. He explains that, earlier on, non-programming development roles got less respect than the more technical development disciplines, though he now notes that artists are being rightfully recognized as a vital part of development.

Likewise, Schafer notes that the game development industry has warmed up to games that place story in the spotlight, as compared to the earlier days where system-driven gameplay reigned supreme. 

Still, Schafer explains that he isn’t a fan of filing video games into rigid requirements or otherwise limiting what games should be because players, like developers, come from a wide variety of experiences and all get different things out of games.

“We went through a period in the games industry where I felt I was being shamed for doing story. It was like, all games should be Deus Ex, all games should be design-driven and systemic,” says Schafer. “Interactivity is what’s unique about games, a powerful tool that can’t be ignored, but I don’t like limited ideas about what games “should” be. It annoys me because there are so many different people playing games who like them for completely different reasons. Gamers aren’t just one thing.”

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