Mar 4, 2005

Self-limitation

We, email game inventors (not many I know), tend to create (and play) games that are ascii-friendly. The same happened with the appearance of Zillions. Many new games are Zillions-friendly, especially Chess Variants submitted at CVP's contests (there are nearly one thousand CV's for Zillions). I'm not saying it is bad, but it is always important to notice our self-imposed limitations.

2 comments:

Poohie T. said...

Interesting observation.

I have wondered about the limitations of traditional abstract strategy game representations in relation to computer technology.

Traditional abstract games have usually been limited to concepts that can be easily represented with physical manipulatives (wooden pegs, stones, carved figures, flat two-dimensional boards, bowls, etc).

Computer technology extends what we can visually represent. Or, more accurately, it makes visual representation of certain objects or concepts easier or cheaper.

For example, there is this puzzle called "Reflections" that was very popular about five years ago (the puzzle is now hosted at GameBlast: http://gameblast.shockwave.com/gb/gbHome.jsp). In this puzzle, the player places mirrors and prisms to force a beam of light starting from a fixed location to land on a destination square. I bet this could be turned into an abstract, two player game. The light beam is easy to represent on a computer, but it would be inconvenient to represent it using stones on a board (since re-directing the beam would mean moving a great deal of stones; possible but a little tedious).

So, I sometimes think about what sort of game could be created that takes advantage of this property.

sLx said...

Thanks for you comment. I also believe that computer media can allow us to unique topologies and piece features and use them into games. One possible problem is how to preserve clarity, to avoid opaque games due to a too fairy rule set.

When I invent games (especially abstract games) sometimes the idea come from a single word or just from the available set of pieces that I have at that particular moment. Hardware is commonly an inspiration to software.