The purpose of this book is to look over the past 35 years of games to discuss titles whose design deserves to be studied by anyone with an interest in game design. While there are plenty of books that focus on the technical side of Game Development, there are few that study the nature of game design itself. Featuring a mix of console and PC offerings, I purposely left off some of the easy choices (Mario, Starcraft, Call of Duty, Overwatch) to focus on games that stood out thanks to their designs.
Table of Contents
Foreword. Star Control 2 (1992) PC 3dO– Choose Your Own Space Adventure. Super Metroid (1994) Super Nintendo– Distilled Metroidvania. X-Com UFO Defense (1994) PC – Multi-System Gameplay. The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis (1996) PC – A Rewarding Experience. Goldeneye (1997) Nintendo 64– Bringing the FPS to the Consoles. Metal Gear Solid (1998) Playstation 1 – Tactical Espionage Gameplay. Diablo 2 PC -- The Art of Loot (2000). Half-Life 2 PC (2004) – Sectional Game Design. Katamari Damacy Playtstation 2 (2004) – Simplistic Beauty. Devil May Cry 3 Playstation 2 (2005) – Bringing Style to the Action Genre. Shadow of the Colossus Playstation 2 (2005) – Boss-Focused Design. Team Fortress 2 PC (2007) – The Birth of Games as a Service. The World Ends With You Nintendo DS (2007) Thinking Way outside the Box. Left 4 Dead PC (2008) (Coop) Friends to the Very End. Spelunky PC (2008) – Procedural Platforming. Demon’s Souls Playstation 3 (2009) – The Action Rogue-Like. Plants vs. Zombies PC (2009) – The Ultimate Hardcore Casual Game. The Binding of Isaac PC (2011) – Perfected Persistence. Infinifactory PC (2015) – Emergent Puzzle Design. Doom PC (2016) -- Fighting in Flow.
I have spent my adult life examining the art and craft of game design; to demystify a field that even professionals within it still have trouble fully grasping. Through my site Game-Wisdom, I have literally interviewed developers from all around the world. From those just starting out, to established veterans like Jon Shafer, Chris Park, Zach Barth, and more. I have lost count of the number of developers I’ve spoken to who appreciate being able to talk to someone who speaks and understands the language of game design.