Analysis can make you a mighty game developer. Of course there are other aspects that go into development but being able to break down games can help you build yours better. Knowing what systems are used, how they are used, and why can give you the experience you need to take your game to the next level.
Choose the right approach
Analyses come in many different approaches and for some beginners this may feel overwhelming. One approach that I usually suggest for beginners to ease the pressure is to find the goal. The goal of the game isn’t the protagonist’s reason for battling the monster but more so how did the developer want the player to experience the game. Finding out the target audience and if the developer reach them effectively. If you feel they didn’t how could they have bridged the gap.
Understand your options
Finding the goal of the game is just one example of an analysis. One of my favorites is comparing and contrasting games that have the same genre or theme. The goal of this analysis is to find two games in the same category and see how they handled the same problem in different or the same ways. There is also U.I. analysis that question where and why things are placed where they are. For example, why does Street Fighter use a bar at the top of the screen for health indication and Super Smash Bros. use a numerical system at the bottom of the screen?
Other analysis include Story Analysis which asks the goals of protagonist, the antagonist, what lead them to that point and how did that resolve. A very popular analysis is the Gameplay Analysis. This analysis is determined to figure out every system the game has to offer. From saving to inventory to how the player interacts with the world. There is also World Analysis in which we look at how the world interacts with itself.
Great genres to look at with this analysis are open world games. In this genre the player is free to explore the crevasses of the world and see how non-playable characters (also known as NPCs) interact with each other and the areas around them. Does the shopkeeper yell out to the crowd greeting people and luring them into buy his amazing goods, or do they stand there lifeless until the player interacts with them?
Break apart the game
Now that we have touched on a few of the many analysis one could choose it is now time to select a game. Due to games being around for some time now there is a mass collection to choose from. When looking for the correct game may I suggest one you have played an enormous amount of, one that you know most if not all the systems like the back of your hand. For when doing an analysis you’d want to play the game a good amount of times to understand and if you’ve played the game before that saves a lot of time. And we game developers are always short on time no matter the case.
To eventually be a great developer one must notice things and ask questions. We must look beyond the norm of “it’s just a game” and ask why was this concept conceived and how does it operate. We must search for the patterns and the outliers. Games help us discover things about society, locations, and sometimes ourselves. Having the knowledge to analyze not only can help you construct better games but also be a more well rounded person. But for now have a great day!
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