Game Design for Couples

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Post: #1
Something said in the Airburst Extreme thread made me think about my own playing history.... with da wife. You all know she is a big Snood fan, but that is pretty much sit and watch someone else play. She played TheSims for a long time, but it looks like it has grown stale. That game too, unless you are online, is a single-player only game.

To this date, we have only played 3 multi-player games, and it was a great deal of fun -- the best was Bonkheads by Aspry (before they became big!) I wish they would re-release that for Mac OS X. The cooperation needed in the game was the great part.

Next was Mina-no-golf (Everyone's Golf) on PlayStation but she was too good at it, and I got bored. So that is something else to talk about in game design -- how to ensure a good time for different level players.

The last game, which is not something my wife would play at home was interesting -- House of the Dead. One day, we went to an arcade in Japan and spent like $50 on it. We were a great in-sync team that day. I don't think the feeling of working together, and next to each other can be captured over the Net. That is why she found it fun, because normally she dislikes bloody/violent games.

Anyhow, Airburst Exreme seems suitable for multi-player fun, for him and her. Anything else?

I'm interested to hear thoughts on ideas/concepts, etc that can work for multi-playing fun, when both players are not under 14, and males, and actually in the same room.

Carlos A. Camacho,
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iDevGames
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Post: #2
I think my wife and I also had a good time with House of the Dead, or one of the other similiar shoot all the evil creatures until your arm hurts, games. Maybe that was only a dream, the memory is such a fluid thing.

I got my wife to play Risk II, then used that to move her into Myth II. She eventually kicked my butt in both of them, the gore in Myth II eventually was a bit much for her big pregnant belly so that didn't last long. She hasn't played any games since then, what ever it is that she does on her computer now puts me to sleep with a seconds glance at it so I can't really tell you.

Competative play always gets boring for the person who reaches their potential and never gets past it, always losing to their better. Fighting games are like this, its fun the first few punches, but when you are getting super-ninja-kung-fu-flying dragon kicked to death repeatedly, it just is pointless. Shooters also tend to have this problem, a one on one death match gets old real fast.

A good time for different level players involves co-operative play. I remember in the old days of arcades or corner store video games, when all we had was fifty cents between us, my brother would handle the shooting while I did the controls, and when we crashed we'd switch positions. In more complex controlled games like TRON or Battlezone we'd just switch out play per death.

I'd love to see a take on that co-operative control mode for online/network space game, someone commanding the flight, other players dealing with advanced targeting against a superior force, like the luke/han/chewbacca Millenium Falcon combo in episode iv, but on a Star Destroyer scale Smile

Oh but this is about for couples, so I don't know if my wife is such a good space ship pilot, if her driving record means anything...look out for that moon!!!

Well for your once-upon-an-Aspyr title, Glenda Adams has a running thread at insidemacgames.com about bringing back some old games to run on OS X.
Maybe they ran out of ideas and PC games that can be ported to Mac for under two million dollars, and haven't already been sold first simultaneously on Windoze, Xbox, GameCube, and PS2. You should look that thread up over there, Aspyr Classics might be a good search string.

Ok 4 AM I'm burnt for ideas.
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Post: #3
The best multi-player game that is good for ALL levels is Nintendo's Super Smash Brothers. (Both versions)

You can turn on a handicap, or even an autohandicap. It automatically adjusts after a few levels how hard it is for a player to "fall" (die). This can make even the worst player able to compete with your hard-core-guru.

That is a very good game that is accessible to many people.

-Jon
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Post: #4
igame3d was talking about this thread.

I remember playing Bonkheads, and someone at CompUSA demoed it for me. It was like the original Mario Bros. in the arcades and also a part in Mario Bros. 3 on the NES.

My friend's parents were huge SNES fans back in the day. I went over to his house and took a look at the games his parents played. They had Frogger, Tetris, Tetris 2, Breakthrough (from the creator of Tetris), Mario Kart, Bubble Bobble, among many others. I find myself playing more of the SNES games with my friend than his PS2 or N64! I'd recommend you find a used SNES/Super Famicom and pick up a few of those classics. They're tons of fun for everyone and true classics.

I'd also look in the GameBoy Advance. Advance Wars is a turn-based strategy game that you can play together by taking turns on the GBA, if you don't mind and both of you are into a little strategy (I'm sure you saw the thread about making a computer version for online play). The GBA also has many arcade remakes/collections as well. I remember there being a cartridge with four PacMan games. I know there are plenty of arcade remakes if you look around, and they are bargains. If you don't mind buying a pair of GBAs and a link cable, I'd also recommend looking at the Legend of Zelda. There's the Legend of the Four Swords that required teamwork with other players to beat dungeons and puzzles. You need to copies of the game for that though. I remember it being up to four players, but I don't think it was required to be played by four players. The GBA also had Mario Kart which could be played with one cartridge and two GBAs by link cable. Of course, buying two copies gives you more tracks to race on. The Super Mario remakes that reached the GBA included the arcade version of Mario Bros. which also can be played with one cartridge and two GBAs by link cable. A semi-expensive idea depending on what you would buy and play. But, the games I named can be found on bargain shelves and you can always buy a used GBA SP or get the GBA without a backlight.

My final recommendation is downloading MAME or MacMAME and grab a few arcade ROMs. Grab a few of the classics and game on. There's plenty to choose from and always fun. Not to mention, you can save your quarters. If you want to go all out, you could purchase an arcade cabinet and build a PC into it. Or buy the X-Arcade to get at least the controls used in the old arcades.
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Post: #5
igame3d had a very good idea. A space game. One guy controls the fleet of big ships, and cordons off amounts of ships to Leaders. He would control them like he controlled Starcraft marines/zealots/zerglings (except they die less fast). If he knows one of his friends playing the game is great controlling massive forces, he would give him 1/2 the fighters or something, while his other friend is great with small forces, he would give him 24 guys or something. There could be 4 player levels, 2 commanders, 2 fighter controllers, or 6 player, 2 commanders 4 fighter contollers, or 8 level, 4 commanders, 4 controllers. The possibilities could be endless, with a homebase that can upgrade the fighters, and the big ships have some heavy cannons too. I think this could work online, but I'm not sure how it would work he and her, unless they both had computers, and both were connected, then orders could be given much faster. Like, "watch out for that moon" Rasp

Whoever konws where this idea came from, gets a gold star!Rasp (no it's not me)

Alex
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Post: #6
EvolPenguins Wrote:Whoever konws where this idea came from, gets a gold star!Rasp (no it's not me)

Alex

Sounds a lot like Ender's Game.... which I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a good video game made of. Either the battle school or the combat exercised that followed.... or both! But it *would* have to be done right.

About two player games... my girlfriend and I had a lot of fun playing realMYST together... only one player can control the action at a time, but having two brains can be fun, and it doesn't matter too much who is controlling things because there is no action sequeces involved.

Also, I know that my girlfriend had fun playing the Tomb Raider games with her Dad. I think that he played, and she and her sister would watch and try to spot secrets and offer suggestions. -- *shameless plug*-- the upcoming Midnight Mansion game could be good for this too ... there are plenty of secrets and room for navigational help for a significant other who is willing to take a backseat to playing the game and just watch ... but two players can't play at the same time (you can take turns, however).
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Post: #7
Correct! Gives DaFalcon a gold star . Yes, i would love to see both of them created, the battle school game would be lots of fun, and the tactics game. You are right though, if they were made wrong, it would be lame.

On topic again, if it were a couples game, you would have to be able to play it on the same computer, or on a lan. A game kind of like donkey kong, but one player controls one monkey, and the other, the other monkey, and they do the adventures. Or, if you have played Zelda, Four Swords for GBA, the multiplayer game in that was awesome, (if very, very short) and something like that would be a great idea.

Alex
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Post: #8
EvolPenguins Wrote:Correct! Gives DaFalcon a gold star . Yes, i would love to see both of them created, the battle school game would be lots of fun, and the tactics game. You are right though, if they were made wrong, it would be lame.
BTW, if anyone here hasn't read Ender's Game you must do so immediately.

****Possible Spoiler Alert here so don't read this if you haven't read it*****
Unfortunately in the case of Ender's Game, if they were made right then it would be lame as well since the only way to win is to skip the playing and go directly for the throat of the enemy!
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Post: #9
I would like to see someone make the arcade game that Ender played, then one with the ogre and such...
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AnotherJake Wrote:BTW, if anyone here hasn't read Ender's Game you must do so immediately.

****Possible Spoiler Alert here so don't read this if you haven't read it*****
Unfortunately in the case of Ender's Game, if they were made right then it would be lame as well since the only way to win is to skip the playing and go directly for the throat of the enemy!

Lol, yes, read it, great book. The rest of the series is very heady though, with politics up to the sky, or something like that. ( I didn't finish the series because someone stole the book i was reading, and i cant find it in borders anymore "The Children of the Mind")

Spoiler Alert thing again:


Yeah, you would have to ignore all tactics and be a genius to beat everyone. Also, be about age 5 with kung-fu knowledge and computer hacking skills.



End of Spoiler

A cool game would be the entire ender's game story, kinda rpg/action game.


Alex
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Post: #11
EvolPenguins Wrote:( I didn't finish the series because someone stole the book i was reading, and i cant find it in borders anymore "The Children of the Mind")
Don't worry, you didn't miss anything, it sucked... I don't know why, but he just wasn't able to get the same feeling rolling again. Ender's Game was the best one IMO, but for sure a sci-fi classic of titanic proportions as it was.
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Post: #12
Jake, are you talking about books 5 6 and 7 (Ender's Shadow, etc.) or books 2 3 and 4 (Speaker for the dead, etc.) .... because the last three books I thought did a good job of keeping up most of what was enjoyable about Ender's Game. The other three books are really a series unto themselves, and OSC had a whole different kind of tale in mind for those, so I wouldn't expect him to get the same feeling rolling again for those.

Sorry to continue so off topic here :-) I've just got to defend some of my favorite books, and Speaker for the Dead, etc. definitely fit into that category.
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Post: #13
DaFalcon Wrote:Sorry to continue so off topic here :-) I've just got to defend some of my favorite books, and Speaker for the Dead, etc. definitely fit into that category.
Sorry, I didn't mean to be too harsh. Card is (was?) a great writer, but the rest of the Ender series never kept me up all night like the original Ender's Game did -Speaker For the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind. I didn't read the Shadow series.
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Post: #14
Jake, you should read the Shadow series because it follows Bean through Battle School and life after Battle School --- and not thousands of years in the future, either :-)

BTW, Card is still around, but I haven't read anything more recent than the most recent Shadow book. Still, he's supposedly quite involved in the movie making process, which is a good thing, I think.
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Post: #15
DaFalcon Wrote:Jake, you should read the Shadow series because it follows Bean through Battle School and life after Battle School --- and not thousands of years in the future, either :-)
I'll put it on the list of books to read. Thanks for the recommendation.
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