Evening Reading: Friday Effect

I'm pretty excited to be at the start of a weekend where it's my job to spend most of my time playing Mass Effect 2. Even with a massive push I'm doubtful about having it done in time to get a review ready for the Tue midnight review embargo. For the most part I've always been of a mind that reviewers need to finish a game before writing their review. I almost convinced myself once that for long games with a repetitive mechanic (e.g. RPG's) that there was a point at which the game had shown itself completely. That might be true of the mechanic but that's only one element of the game.

This ties back to my growing conviction that games get treated too often as simply virtual toys. We get caught up in the mechanisms and technologies forgetting that their only purpose is to deliver the experience the game designer seeks to create. I think that's part of the growing appeal for indie games. While they often have clever uses of technology, it's always done as a support to a unique part of playing the game.

Getting back to Mass Effect 2, interestingly, much of the refinement done for the sequel went into mundane things like improving the shooting action and cleaning up the interface. From watching the game develop and talking to people working on it I got that this was a very intentional direction intended to make the "playing" of the game as unobtrusive as possible. The hope being that that way we become better drawn into the experience of the game.

Well, that was a bit all over the place. Happy Friday!

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