Advice on game design from Ron Gilbert

My greatest fascination towards games lies in the stories they contain. Thereby it will come as no surprise that to me, perhaps the greatest game designer on earth is Mr. Ron Gilbert. The designer of games such as the Maniac mansion and the Secret of the Monkey island, just to name a few of his wonderful works.

He doesn’t like his games to be called interactive movies. A term chosen by the marketing people, for obvious reasons of amping up the sales charts. While the two mediums of film and games can share a great deal of similarities, there will always be a large chunk of things that will simply not translate well, when moving between the mediums. Many things which are great in a film, will turn out to be lousy in a game, and vice versa. He wants his games to be called “story games”.

Story games give the freedom to explore the story.

The main job of a story game designer is to make the player become involved in the world of the story, by giving the player the sense of the story being built up as they play. And make this happen for as long periods of time as possible.

Game design is the art of minimizing the loss of suspension of disbelief. By constructing clear, logical and rewarding stories and puzzles with abundant options for the player to choose from.

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