Just got back from dinner with some friends from my days at QuickStart, one of which is was Matthew Chamberlain of Microsoft. He reports that hes still on the hunt at MS on my behalf (which is, of course, awfully nice of him). We got together a couple weeks ago at the MS SF office to search for people to talk to. We decided it would be a good idea to start with a couple of guys at the top (it goes something like: guys at the top->studio heads->exec producers->producers->associate producers) and go from there. He tells me hes helping because he cares about his MS stock price. Indeed. Heh heh. He also reminded me that he can hook me up with any MS published games at a big discount. :)
Joel Naumoff is another friend of mine from our QS days who was at dinner. We got to talking about games (as I’m prone to do at times). He hasnt played anything since Civ2, which he liked a lot. RTSes are too fast paced and click-fest oriented for his tastes, and he never latched onto FPS. It was interesting to talk to one more person who used to play games a lot but doesnt anymore. We came up with a few ideas on why he doesnt play:
- Too much time required to play the games–Civilization 2 is fun, but you have to commit 10+ hours for a good game of it. I wonder if console games do better relative to PC games for the 30+ crowd because of this. Most console games are easy and fun to pickup and play whenever you have a few minutes. Another reason Tetris is popular, I think.
- Too high a time barrier to learn a new game–Stars, Homeworld, and System Shock 2 are examples of tutorials done right. I especially like the way Fatal Frame integrates their tutorials into the gameplay itself.
- Not very social–gaming is in many ways an antisocial activity…Matt’s wife complains when he spends too much time playing games rather than participating like one would with a game of cards or Scrabble.
Good stuff to think about. Sorta fishtails with a lot of my personal ponderings on why some games are fun and have staying power while others do not. GGA talks about this excellent WSJ article that makes some great points along the same lines. We are just on the tip of this cultural icebergall the possibilities are in front of us.
Updated on October 6th, 2013
Some of the links were broken. I replaced them with working links to pages with the same or similar content as before.