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The Lincolnsoft Mission - For Games

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Obviously, Lincolnsoft is a game company, so why shouldn't we have a mission for games as well?

Lincolnsoft believes that the game industry at its current state concentrates way too much on graphics and eyecandy. Whatever happened to the days, not so long ago, when games were made to be fun, not to look good?

This doesn't mean that some games released today aren't fun and have decent graphics at the same time, but those are the exceptions. All too many times today, I play a new game, and whether it's a PC game, a Playstation, Gamecube, or X-Box game, or otherwise, it just isn't fun, or it's fun for a little while but then I really start to get bored of it, before I even finish the game (this is more common.) Most of today's developers (especially the big ones) concentrate way too much on graphics, 3D, FMV, and other things. The gameplay suffers as a result, and you get a game with shallow gameplay, and low replay value (one that's fun for awhile, but then you get bored of it.) I'm getting really tired of all the crappy 3D games with no gameplay or substance being released.

Not so long ago, gameplay ruled. We didn't have all these powerful systems and 3D accelerator cards, so a game developer couldn't make an eyecandy game. The games had to be simple. They had to be fun. They had to be challenging enough so the player wouldn't get bored of the game. A lot of today's games have the challenge dumbed down, because they don't understand that you should need skill to finish a game. I believe a lot of today's games are too complicated (though there's some where complexity is necessary, such as realtime strategy games, but I'm not talking about those). Whatever happened to the days where you could just pick up the controller and play, without having to read through the instruction manual? They also didn't need to have complexity for challenge (and I believe making a game more complex just to up the challenge isn't a good way of doing it), they were challenging, but simple. In fact, they were more challenging than most of today's games. They fit the very definition of what video games should be: "simple to learn, but hard to master". I haven't played a sufficiently challenging game in years. The emulation/retrogaming communities are thriving for a reason. They allow us to play, and even make new versions of, the great classics, which were made for pure fun, not eyecandy. A game with good graphics is like a movie with lots of special effects: the good graphics can't mask bad gameplay, low replay value, or other related elements, just like special effects can't mask a poor plot.

Also, it seems today's developers are way too bent on making games that attempt to emulate reality. This is part of why today's games are becoming more and more boring as well. Reality is boring, let's face it. We play games to get away from reality, to do things you can't do in real life, and that's part of why they're fun. I've always said that reality and fun in games are maybe about 95% mutually exclusive. Sure, games might need a little bit of reality, or need to be based on a real-life idea, to make them fun, but most of what makes any given game fun is in the parts of the game that don't emulate reality. How realistic is eating dots in a maze, or dropping blocks in a well to make lines, or bouncing balls around a screen to break bricks? Or, for that matter, how realistic is stomping on enemies to kill them, bonking blocks to collect powerups, or jumping on midair platforms or blocks to get over bottomless pits? It's not very realistic, but it's fun. Some of it might be based in reality - for instance, the jumping in a decent sidescroller is based on real-life physics to a point - but that small bit of reality is necessary to make the rest of the game fun (and of course, in any decent sidescroller, when you jump, you might be jumping the equivalent of oh, maybe at least 10, if not 15 or 20 feet or more.) And of course, the aforementioned sidescroller would include many unrealistic elements (such as items sitting in midair defying gravity.)

Lincolnsoft will make games that emphasize exactly the things they did in the good old days, that are currently neglected - like good gameplay, high replay value, and challenge. The most important thing is that the game is fun, that it lasts sufficiently long enough, and that it's hard enough to give the expert player a challenge. This doesn't mean that the games will be downright ugly, just that we'll spend comparatively more time on making them fun games, just as fun as in the old days when that's all anyone ever cared about. This is what makes me love games the most - the fact that they're fun and captivating, not because they look good. Isn't that the purpose of games to begin with?

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Page Last Updated: December 13, 2003

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