Theme your games!

It’s not about the game mechanic anymore it is a lot about the game design, the user experience.

Casual Gamers don’t want to “learn” a game before they can play it. So many game publishers nowadays use a common game mechanic and just twist little aspects. You can play the classic Bejeweld, but also a faster paced version, a strategy version or get different “specials stones” in different games.  But why would people play exactly THIS imitation of Bejeweld? A good and common way to make a game enjoyable is to “theme” the game. I will post another article where I give 2 nice examples of theming the same game, but firstly I want to explain themed games.

Think of Ikea.
Why do we buy at Ikea ? Yes because we get great value for money and like swedish meatballs. But don’t we also love how they set up their “rooms” ? Doesn’t the Billy bookcase look so much better in store than it does at home ? That’s because Ikea “themes” their display-rooms.
If you go into an Ikea room everything fits together. The shapes, the colours and placement of items. But the theme also has to meet the purpose. At Ikea their are boy bedrooms, girls bedrooms, teens rooms, young couple … in the game there is a game mechanic.  The theme should follow the game mechanic and then all elements should follow the theme. So start by thinking “- Who does this game mechanic appeal to?” “- Who is my target audience ?” and very important: What is the pace of the game? Then think of a theme that would fit. ( Green Meadow with Flowers or a Racing Circuit?) and then think of shapes, colours, images and placement of game elements.

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