Saturday, October 25, 2008

Why Guitar Hero rocks?

The list below is an exercise done by all students (30 people) of the master with the supervision of design professor. The exercise consists in analyzing Guitar Hero and why it works so good and succeeds. Neither the graphics nor the kind of music are taken in consideration, only the gameplay aspects that make a good game. The list isn't made by order of importance.
  • Body rhythm. Can’t play it on the sofa -do you remember body play?-.
  • How are you doing it indicator. A thermometer that goes up with every hit and goes down with every miss. This produces satisfaction.
  • A metronome on the reel show us the rhythm.
  • To have point multipliers when you're doing it well, has sense in this game because you can memorize, and each time you do it better. Multipliers are a kind if recompense.
  • But it isn’t only about memorize. There are ability components.
  • Hands synchronization. To play a real guitar is very difficult because hands must play asynchronized. In guitar hero they work at the same rhythm.
  • One button more than useful fingers. When playing with the guitar we only use four fingers of the hand. This is very interesting. Guitar Hero is a social game, where you can brilliant in front of friends or you don’t have any idea but can have lots of fun with friends. To play the fool inside video games context works, it’s fun. This is what Wii attained, people playing together and laughing at each other.
  • Progressive difficulty with songs, the faster the reel goes the more difficult gets.
  • Sound feedback, making you think you’re playing the guitar, and shows you if you got it wrong or not.
  • The colors of guitar buttons coincidence with colors of the reel. Button order have the same order as the screen order. Trying this in reverse order, would be very difficult.
  • The reel comes from far to near allowing you to get ready for the increasing expectations.
  • Notes/second.How many notes per second are fun? Few notes could be boring. This can be the most difficult thing to find.
You may think that these are only little details, but these are the things that make the difference. It looks easy to find what works in a video game, but it isn’t. Our first homework was the analysis of a video game created before 1982 -MAME is an excellent emulator to play old games-. Why before 1982? Because until 1982, the video games were more or less simple and overall, the graphics are not important. A way of focus only on the game play. I’ve chosen Tank Battalion from Namco, 1980. It’s easy to find things which work but it isn’t to explain why.

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