The talk of Media Molecule’s Dreams this week has left me thinking nostalgically about my time spent on their previous series, LittleBigPlanet. It’s almost been 10 years since I first started playing the original LittleBigPlanet and messing around with the tools in its “create” mode. It was my first experience with a level creator and my first introduction to the basic questions asked when making a game. What are the win/lose states? What rules are imposed on the player? What message/narrative are you trying to communicate? I never made anything of note but simply playing with the logic and systems the game offered up was enjoyable in its own right, and in a way educational. The sequel even introduced me to music sequencers and boolean logic before I would later encounter them in school. In all, it left me with an appreciation for the craft of how games are made.
Some years later I would get into the immersive and walking simulator genres with the likes of Dishonored and Gone Home, games that would teach me to start playing closer attention to level design. Looking at the objects in these virtual environments knowing that a designer had to have specifically placed them there fascinated me and left me questioning what stories they were trying to tell. Even the shape of a space intrigued me more as I pondered how the designers were guiding me to my destination. These days I try to play most games without objective markers enabled, hoping that the level design will be able to communicate the right direction if I’m paying attention.
So I put the question to all of you: has a game ever made you interested in how they are made, or taught you something about the practice?