Insight: Games as Interaction Design

Games are all about interesting interactions. While browsing the articles for Magic: The Gathering, I came across something that made me smile because I found someone who understood things as well as I do:

I was browsing the articles the game produces and stumbled upon an old one that made me smile because the writer said the following:

“Innovation in itself is not what pleases people.”
Do not change things merely for the sake of change.

People do not want superficial change or drastic change. It’s not about the magnitude of change. People want meaningful change. It is a form of change that they can positively appreciate. It’s like finding a new spice to complement an existing dish. The new spice introduces an appreciable difference in flavor and thus allows an individual to relish what they’re experiencing.

“The key to taking the next step in tribal was to find ways to make interesting interactions between tribal cards.”
Making the biggest, baddest, most awe-inspiring object only goes so far. Plus as technology trundles on, continual investment and sometimes increasingly expensive investment is required to make that selling point.

Do you know one of the best-selling small expansions of all time? Legions. This might come as a shock for some of you because the set is known for being kind of low on Constructed tournament-worthy cards, but players ate it up. There are many theories in R&D about why this particular set sold so well but one that can’t be ignored is that a lot of players just love tribal

One area where design is doing well is games and it’s doing well for the following reasons:

Games are all about interaction. If it’s not player-to-player interaction, it’s at least player-to-computer interaction.
Games have dedicated testing bases.
Games have vocal testing bases.
Game designers can witness/understand how changes impact game interactions by using various tools. Forums, game data, etc.

Furthermore, game developers need to be innovative to stay relevant. Part of this stems from consumerism and the need to devour new experiences. The other part is to distinguish themselves from the various other game developers out there. Any decent gaming company can create a generic shooter game because the formula is so well developed. Without innovating new types of gameplay, the competition becomes a race-to-the-bottom drive to deliver the cheapest product.

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