Feb 10, 2006

Arrested Game Development

I had set aside tonight for testing out some new tools I recently heard about that can ease creation of game cards. I want to see if either PagePlus SE or The Card Collector Game Maker could help me manage changes to designs of mine like Programmer or Theme Park. However, I realized that tonight Fox is showing the last four episodes of Arrested Development.

AD is one of my favorite television shows of all time. It easily tops my list of comedies. Sadly, it has never done well in the ratings. There are numerous causes for this, not the least of which being the awful marketing campaign that it has had since its inception.

What does this have to do with game design? Despite some rumors about the show being adopted by various outlets (HBO, Showtime, ABC), this will likely be the end of a show that won unanimous critical acclaim. So what does it take to make a successful television show? Can this process be translated into a game? Would that game be fun?

As I explained in my very first post, this is a mental exercise I go through often. I find it quite entertaining to attempt to translate random things into game mechanics. However, this is something that could actually possibly be turned into a game. Television is something almost everyone is interested in to some extent. It has many variables, sometimes nebulous and shifting, that go into "winning" the ratings game. The existence and placement of any one show affects the success of others. Decisions about difficult choices and interaction between players are at the heart of the mechanics of any good game.

At the moment I have no interest in actually doing this sort of design, but that could easily change if I come up with mechanics that I find interesting and that uniquely fit the theme. I'm going to let these ideas run around in the back of my mind. If anything coalesces, I'll give it a shot.

In the meantime, what do you guys think are the important aspects of television that would need to be represented in a game? Also, what scale of game would be attractive? By this I am asking what the perspective of the players would be. Writers? Actors? Producers? Network executives? Advertising agents?

Tonight I will be setting aside design and be bidding farewell to the Bluths.

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