As I get closer to finishing Matchy Star I think a lot about rules as I try to make the most addictive game I’ve ever conceived. There are things people “just like” and as you polish a gem stone down into its final faceted cut there are less and less options and more and more obvious restrictions. The more I want to knock it out of the park with a compelling hit the more I have to follow the rules of game design and similarly the more I have to inflict a strict set of rules on players in order to make the game cohesive and fun. Rules, both for me and the player, become hugely important.
I struggle with this as I have a complicated relationship with rules. Everyone says great art works within limitations, or essentially rules. I’ve always railed against this idea of rules for art, or embracing limitations, but I’ve probably finally been beaten into submission. At this point all I can see is rules flowing around everything like the air we breathe or gravity. Generally people seem to love following the rules of life. People accept profoundly deep and complex sets of rules every minute of every day in basically every facet of existing. From the stop sign at a cross walk to the rules of polite conversation or even basic grammar. There is nothing wrong with any of those rules of course but they permeate the fabric of existence.
Matchy Star will be the first game I’ve made that follows the rules and perhaps I’m worried I’ll be turning out something as good as Stewie Griffin’s “Establishment Song” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoFlMEl1_h8 but at Woodstock you could argue that Stewie is actually more subversive and rule breaking than Jimi Hendrix who gave a crowd of stoned hippies a radical improvised and wild anti war guitar riff version of the national anthem: https://youtu.be/TKAwPA14Ni4 Considering the audience you could almost consider Jimi to be pandering to the crowd. If no one is booing have you really subverted anything?
I suppose at the end of the day I’ll just have to “learn the rules” and see what happens. After all, “if you wanna make a hit you gotta make it fit” to quote Billy Joel.
Categorised in: Design Discussion