So sorry for the long period of quiet, everyone! I’m very busy working with my team on a new game. Unfortunately this has more or less meant death for some of my older projects, and a major slowdown in critical theory output. I don’t have enough stuff together to make a real announcement just yet, but look for one soon! Expect this next game to be bigger, more interesting, and far more of an undertaking than anything I’ve made yet.
So here’s a definition: The richness of a game is a measure of its emergent properties, where games that produce more frequent, significant, chaotic, and patterned emergence (during gameplay) are more rich.
And an opinion: Richer games are more beautiful, interesting, and exciting.
And a thesis: Games that demonstrate greater interdependence of parts (systems, objects, players) tend to be richer.
Below the cut: a (partial) explanation.
I’m about 12 or so hours into Ni No Kuni, and have just gotten both alchemy and my final companion. The game borrows from a lot of places (Pokemon), and I have to say there are some things about it that really bother me (awkwardly punishing combat), but the game’s ‘Wizard’s Companion’ is just about the coolest thing ever.
Ni No Kuni is primarily composed of three major gameplay modes: world traversal, zone traversal, and battle sequences. The broadest mode, world traversal, features an elevated, distant camera, fast character movement, and open areas which contain enemies, collectable rewards, and the entrances to zones. It is beautiful and scenic, but the player is removed somewhat from the characters and the action, allowed to float quickly across the world to eventually focus in on either a combat or a zone.