Functional games

Games should be designed around specific functions.

I wish more game developers looked at it this way. I’m playing a game because I want it to do something for me. For example I’m playing this AAA racing game. I only play it because good car racing gets me into the zone. The game has excellent racing and car mechanics that get me into flow so I feel like I can kick ass and then the feeling lasts for a few hours and it transfers into other things I do later in the day: like coding games :).

Specifically racing cars does gets me in the zone. However the developer is clearly not aware that I’m playing the racing game just for the racing. Shocking?

Let’s look at what the game does:
* it makes me wait for the game to load for a few minutes
* it has to get me through pointless questions like “do you want autosave to be on?
* "do you want autosave to be really on?”
* “are you sure?
* forces me to pick a user account although I’m the only one playing
* the main menu is actually 3D and it has to load for a couple seconds
* there’s pointless mini cut scenes after whatever racing event you choose like I give a shit about the “story” or environment
* every menu option is artificially slowed down by some animation
* there’s an announcer which is there to help you but just annoys the crap out of you by saying stupid shit like "you need to catch up to win the race!” after you’ve crashed, tumbled and wrecked your car – thanks a lot for the advice and fuck you.

You get the point. Clearly all of these are just an effect of the designers showing off their After-Effects skills and an over-the-top budget. It has nothing to do with my purpose of playing the game. I “hired” the game for a specific task and everything that doesn’t get me there interfers with that and should be removed.

I’ve been playing games nowadays only to get into the state of flow.

Games serve me a specific function which is flow, but there are many other reasons we play games for example:
* we need to kill time for 15 minutes
* we want to forget for a minute about our problems
* we want to immerse in a different reality
* we want to feel adrenaline
* we want to feel nostalgia
* we want to be creative and build something
* we feel like kicking somebodies ass
* we want to learn a skill
* we want to experience a story
* we want to get into the zone
* we want to do something fun with friends

So this is a different way at looking at gaming. It’s not that you want to play an FPS or space game or a zombies game. This is thinking about what the game does for you. NOT what it is about and NOT what you can do in the game. Games serve you in some way. You play them because there is a task that they can do for you. So again:

What should the game do for you? – NOT what it is about.

Cartridge games serve a function. They are there for you. They accomplish a task for you:
You want to feel something specific – we got a game for you.
You want to LOL really hard – we got a game for you.
You want to have fun for exactly 12 minutes – we got a game for you.
You want to experience a full story but only got 3 minutes – we got a game for you.
You want to get into flow with a game specifically designed to do it as fast and reliantly as possible – we got a game for you.

We’re working on it so keep in touch and think what function could a game serve you specifically and hopefully we’ll have a game exactly for you.


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