In a recent, private correspondence with a ledendary game critic/journalist, I gave away the best of the bestest of my ideas. These included thoughts on articles I should write as well as games I would like to make. I was a little worried about my actions, but am now at peace with them because I think it was all for the best. My reasons for this are given away by the title and summary of the post, but I will expand upon them here:
In games, self-proclaimed "indies" will probably guard their best ideas quite carefully, for fear of them being stolen. At the risk of sounding provocative, let me say that game-devs are thieves at heart. They always take from the best of everything. That trait of jealous protection is something that triple-A does just as much, and this is further evidenced by the first indie company, Activision(-Blizzard), now being the largest of the 3rd parties.
Safeguarding my ideas causes these loops in my head that will repeat endlessly until I get them out, hollerback if you hear me on that one. Getting them out in a public or private forum allows me to release them from captivity, giving my head rest and time to think of other newer game ideas. What games (ever) have lacked in originality, they easily make-up for in elegantly stealthy thievery, flattering the original creators with lavishly re-created virtual museums lush in laboratory-quality experimentation and theatrical-level experience. Games I play are usually so good that I completely forget all other "media" (for lack of a better word, see Frank Lantz's discussion from GDC 09), whereas when I am watching, reading, or listening, I frequently daydream about playing/making games.
What else can I say on the topic? Bedroom coding is highly overrated. People exagerrate just how glamourous it is supposed to be, though I will say that it really does help you reconnect with your family/friends (especially as regards money!), an interesting paradox regarding the maverick nature of trifecta perfect game devs who can code/art/plan/(make music).
One quick example of my supposedly best-ofs: people in the ludology vs narratology debate will often propose writing as the fourth element of game devving to go alongside art, code, and design. This is wrong I think, because writing is generally multi- and inter-disciplinary. It belongs to art (story), code (programs), and design (gameplay). However, a fourth element is still needed, and this I think is music. Song provides the most powerful auditory component of any game for me, as it is often what I will remember most alongside the actual gameplay dynamics. Booming soundtracks in a game can echo in my head long after I have stopped playing a game. And when the music (never dies) goes along perfectly with the design? You get games like Umjammer Lammy and Rez. And Vib Riboon. Et cetera.
Five years ago, music games were highly niche. They belonged to a separate category outside "traditional" genres, spanning the arcades, consoles, and obscure PC bed-coded prototypes. Now they are all the craze, thank Goddess. But the problem with them now is, and I think everyone (including the makers themselves) already knows, is that music-based games are built largely off of licensed, untouchable songs. So the game is led, quite literally, by the music which is pre-generated.
It is okay to have a strong musician-grounded musical experience in a game, as was the case with PaRappa Rappa and other games. What those niche games did back in the day (only a few years ago, heh) was to allow the game and music to freely interact. Such games nowadays are a rarity in triple-A and even in indie, at least as far as I can tell. Counter-examples always welcome! Anyway..
Gimme your ideas! I wanna steal them and make them better. In the coming months, I hope to share with you the cream of the crop in my game ideas over the last several years, things I have commited to memory for longer than I can remember, in the hopes of freeing myself and getting valuable feedback from the wonderful commenters here on Gama. Having a public forum for such things helps one to remember the core of goodness about ideas, and hopefully allow those seeds to blossom into something even betterrer.
Still loving the Gamablogs. The posters here are so unique and interesting. Hope they're okay with me stealing from them!