The idea of MicroVentures – Part 1
As the Product Owner and initial creator of the idea for MicroVentures, I am often asked questions like “How did you come up with MicroVentures?”, “Why are you making a casual game? I thought you hated casual games.”, “Why a phone game?”, “You like games like Braid and Limbo, why aren’t you making a pretentious indie game?”, “Seriously, why are you making a video game for a fucking telephone?” Okay, maybe not so much that last question, but some of the above assertions are true: I really don’t like casual gaming, and my ultimate dream in life is to make thought-provoking games independently. So, as one of my roommates would say, “Why MicroVentures even?”
I’ll start off by talking about the current trend in the game industry. It doesn’t take any statistic gathering to realize that casual gaming is on the ride. Importantly though, I do disagree with the assumptions that console and PC gaming are falling, but rather that the gaming market is stretching out to new audiences. As a game designer, I can’t ignore the growing trend in casual gaming.
No, I do not hate the idea of casual gaming. I think integrating games into even the smallest gaps of our schedule is something positive. What I don’t believe is this notion that casual gaming will eradicate the console/PC gaming market altogether. The idea of of the usual Friday night LAN party with a group of friends being replaced with an all-night Angry Birds party just makes me cringe, and I can never see that happening. Ever. Why? Because that’s not what casual games are supposed to be, and what they are not is a replacement for highly-immersive, 3D experiences on consoles or PCs.
Casual games are meant for one thing: A short distraction. They serve as a way for someone to break away and have a short break from a normally dull, repetitive existence. That’s why people play Angry Birds and Farmville, it gives people a fresh set of goals and tasks that can be accomplished in a matter of minutes.
And that is essentially our goal with MicroVentures: giving someone a break from their life to accomplish other goals. I went with the genre of Roguelikes mainly due to the major influence from Binding of Isaac, but at the same time it seemed like a perfect solution to my problem: Creating an awesome game experience by having a DIFFERENT experience every time! By having each roguelike adventure to be aimed to play for 2-4 minutes, we successfully create a short, concise adventure game.
Though something’s missing. The problem with having these procedural adventures, there’s no way of having character development, story, or anything like that. OR IS THERE?
To be continued…