Blogless: Blog of Design Less Better.

Posts tagged Video Games.

Four Design Ethics Links: May 25, 2011

Four Design (Ethics) Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week. This week: game design ethics, white hat SEO, facebook psychology, and startup web design.

1. Nevolution: This is a mental public health issue

Nevolution: This is a mental public health issue
Image credit: Daniel Neville

Daniel Neville has penned a thoughtful piece about the ethical implications of video games that manipulate us and how these mechanics are holding back the artistic potential of the medium.

...[G]ame designers are using evolutionary needs for rewards and goals to cheapen the game playing experience. If there were no golden coins to collect, or princesses to solve, would the game still be playable? [Braid designer Jonathan Blow] made a big point about comparing the simple and addictive (yet ultimately empty) rewards based system of World of Warcraft to gorging on fast food...Blow questions if game designers have been designing games to exploit the need for fitness indicators and affordances. Rewards can be like food (naturally beneficial) or like drugs (artificial stimuli and the illusion of fitness indicators), games over use the drugs because they don't understand how to make a food.

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NickMay 24, 2011
 

Minimalist World Warriors

Dig this Street Fighter 2 art by infinitecontinues. It's not only the colors that make it effective, but the scale and proportions. That's some strong character design!

Infinitecontinues: Minimalist Street Fighter 2
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NickOct 19, 2010
 
Tagged with: Minimalism, Video Games

Four Design Links: July 28, 2009

Surprise! Four Links hits on Tuesday this week. Come and get them.

1. New Media Artworks: Prequels to Everyday Life

In a story related to Paul's piece last week, Golan Levin writes:

some of today’s most commonplace and widely-appreciated technologies were initially conceived and prototyped, years ago, by new-media artists.

Golan Levin -- Comparison of Aspen Movie Map and Google Street View
Comparison of Aspen Movie Map (1978-1980) and Google Street View (2007).
Image arranged by Golan Levin

2. Lessons from a failed meeting with a Social Media Guru

Matt Daniels chronicles how not to pitch a client your expertise.

3. Making Money with Flash Games

Lost Garden has an extensive article about revenue streams for independent game publishers. Even if you're not into selling Flash games, there are some good thoughts to consider.

Ads are a good secondary source of revenue, but surely there are richer sources …? There is an obvious one, used for decades by all other game industries...why not ask the players for money?

4. The New Yorker Critiques the Kindle

Those used to reading blogs don't often see design criticism of this magnitude: Nicholson Baker of the New Yorker has 6,300 words on the Amazon Kindle.

I forced myself to read the book on the Kindle 2. It was like going from a Mini Cooper to a white 1982 Impala with blown shocks. But never mind: at that point, I was locked into the plot and it didn’t matter. Poof, the Kindle disappeared, just as Jeff Bezos had promised it would.

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NickJul 28, 2009
 

Four Design Links: the Science of Persuasion

Check out the following links and consider the many ways designers use psychology to influence our daily decision-making. Are these practices ethical? We'll examine that question in a future post.

1. Menus that Make You Spend More

Recently, I found a couple of interesting articles on the science of influencing customers' choices through graphic design. Experts in this area claim that a menu redesign can increase a restaurant's profits substantially.

The way prices are listed is very important. "This is the No. 1 thing that most restaurants get wrong"... "If all the prices are aligned on the right, then I can look down the list and order the cheapest thing." It's better to have the digits and dollar signs discreetly tagged on at the end of each food description. That way, the customer's appetite for honey-glazed pork will be whetted before he sees its cost.

--Time Magazine: The Menu Magician

2. 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

Alex Moskalyuk reprises all 50 chapters of the book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, many of which have marketing implications.

For instance:

Asking for little goes a long way. Researchers went door-to-door asking for American Cancer Society donations. Group A just asked for a donation, group B ended their spiel with “even a penny would help”. Results? 28.6% response rate for Group A vs. 50% response for Group B.

3. Why You've Gotta Catch'em All

Why are people so addicted to games like Pokemon, Mafia Wars, and World of Warcraft? Gamasutra considers the appeal of item collecting and achievement hoarding.

4. The Psychology of Being Scammed

What makes people fall for scams? Mind Hacks blog discussed a recent report which lists some obvious factors: perception of scarcity, appeals to trust and authority, inducing behavioral committment, etc.-- tactics one often sees in marketing.

Even more interesting are the findings that are counter-intuitive:

  1. many people who are scammed know a great deal about the subject of the scam (say, financial investing)
  2. they tend to put more cognitive effort into investigating the scam than non-victims.

So, it's not just the ignorant or the careless who can be manipulated!

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NickJul 9, 2009
 

Classic video game covers reimagined

What if classic video games were given classic book covers? A recent post on Kotaku collects the best examples from this Something Awful thread.

Doom
Doom by MSPain
Punch Out
Punch Out by Mt. Modular
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart by Recycle Bin

The source material for these spoofs —Penguin & Pelican book covers— are classics of modern design and worth checking out on their own.

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NickJun 2, 2009
 

DRM and the Social Contract

If DRM is necessary (or just unstoppable), what's a fair way to do it? DLB looks for inspiration in an example of a successful compromise between publishers and users.

I didn’t want to dwell on DRM anymore, but after responding to a comment on Tuesday’s post, I felt the need to play devil’s advocate—to prove that we’re not just idealists, but seriously thinking about this stuff.

My original suggestion was to remove all protection, embrace the effects of copying and change the pay structure. Ideally, the net result would be fewer pirates, thus more revenue. But maybe that’s just as radical as putting DRM on everything—who knows if it would really work?

The truth is: this stuff is still evolving. There isn’t a perfect model of DRM out there that works in the best interests of both the publisher and the user.

However, rather than be defeatist, I’d like to share with you one that does a fairly decent job by taking the middle path.

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NickOct 3, 2008
 

Evolving Beyond DRM– Part Two

How can companies prevent the general unhappiness caused by DRM and still sell games? Find out in part two of our series.

Do Nothing

When we last left off, I suggested that the solution was to do nothing. What does that mean, exactly?

What I’m saying is, forget about copy protection entirely.

DRM costs far more than it protects. It doesn’t prevent piracy—pirates are going to break it anyway. What it does is hurt paying customers, who should be cherished at all costs. After all, these are the people who are actually giving publishers money when they can get something for free. Why make things hard on the good guys? All it does is make them into the bad guys.

Yeah, sure, you say. No copy protection is just asking for people to pirate my game. How will I make any money?

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NickSep 30, 2008
 

Evolving Beyond DRM– Part One

DLB presents a two part case-study about piracy, DRM, and customer's rights. Today's theme: "You're doing it wrong".

The Situation

Piracy is the biggest problem facing PC games. Publishers claim it’s so bad that it threatens the very existence of the platform. Since it’s so easy to copy games, it’s no longer profitable to develop for the PC.

To help stave the flow of lost sales, many newer games come with DRM (Digital Rights Management), a kind of software lock designed to prevent unauthorized copying. It sounds okay in theory. I mean, we can generally agree that companies have a right to protect themselves.

But that’s where the game publishers have gone overboard—putting their rights above their customer’s. And so, instead of profiting as they should be, they’ve created a storm of controversy and actually made things much worse for everyone involved.

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NickSep 26, 2008
 
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