Game Development Reference
“Ease of use is easy to overlook when you're knee deep in designing a game, but it's arguably the most im-
portant thing we look at. If you want more people to play your game, don't set up obstacles to keep them from
diving right in.
NOTE “Unskippable cinematics, lengthy tutorials, or overly complex gameplay early in the game can drive
casual players away,” say the Jay Is Games editors.
“And yes, we also evaluate games based on how fun they are! A game can have the most stunning visuals
ever or the best soundtrack, but if the gameplay isn't as strong or stronger, what's the point?”
How Developers Miss the Mark: Bugs, Glitches, and Lack
of Passion for the Game
“You might be surprised how many games have obvious mistakes like typos, glitches, or clumsy interfaces.
Bugs are another nasty problem, and we expect games to have these issues ironed out before we take a look at
them. Ease of use is also a factor, and games that alienate groups of potential players based on operating system,
browser preference, or even common physical disabilities (color blindness, for example) are essentially putting
up a barrier to keep players out.
“On a subtler level, we look for effort and passion in a game, and when it's not there, it shows. As a deve-
loper, you need to find something you enjoy and work from that. When you're enthusiastic about what you do,
it can be felt in every aspect of the game. Similarly, we're not looking for cynicism and soapboxing. Games that
exist solely to hammer home an opinion or message and aren't actually fun to play aren't really games at all, so
we'll pass on them even if we might personally agree with the developer's thoughts on the matter.”
Some Game Sub-Genres Need More Innovation
“We don't really look at any sub-genre as being overdone, more as being underutilized. There are too many
people out there who say that shooters are boring and stupid, when what they should really be saying is, 'The
type of shooter that gets churned out on a daily basis is boring and stupid.' There is no genre out there that can't
be made fresh and engaging if you put effort into it.
“Developers who throw out cookie-cutter games that look and feel like every other game on the market are
putting genres in coffins. If we had a nickel for every 'top-down survive the night and upgrade stuff zombie
shooter' they've played, we'd...well, we'd have a lot of nickels.” That doesn't mean you shouldn't make those
games; just pour some creativity into them and show everyone that talent and drive can turn any concept into a
Big Design Opportunity: Hybrids of Different
Hybrids that combine puzzles with roleplaying elements or adventure-type quests with point-and-click gameplay are good examples of hy-