DongGun Kim(right picture) the president of Nexon, who developed <Mabinogi> and is in charge of <Mabinogi 2> now, had a speach titled ‘Making A Game for the New by the Old’ at the NDC 2011(Nexon Developers Conference 2011) on May 30.
He addressed a reason to make a game for teens, their charateristics, and a few traps the old developers might fall into.
(This translated article is a shorten version due to a matter of time.)
1. A Reason to Make A Game for the Teen
Developers are very good at making a game for themselves because they know themselves and what games they are eager for.
But it is impossible in reality. Although the game for themselves is made, it only targets ‘the old’ because the old made it and is less commercial.
To make a successful game, we need to target the teenage. Some might say “Dude, the average age of gamers is getting higher.”
Yes. It is true but be aware that the online game is not a product with life span of couple of years. It should steadily attract the teenage every year.
Aged gamers are to stop playing games. But what if more younger gamers start to play the game than those who leave the game?
In fact, <Super Mario> is a good example of this. It has been released for a long time and has retained its target age since the very beginning. As a result, today’s both old gamers and young gamers love it and still play it together.
2. Admit We Are Old
Most of the developers in today’s industry are a generation who had undergone the transition period of game when grammar about most of the game genres had been defined. Also they had experienced ‘revolution’ of each game.
However, today’s gamers are experiencing fancy games after the definition and the revolution. The old should understand this gap before approach them.
3. Traps for the Old
A. Obsession to create something new – All mechanics of today’s games are made in 80s and 90s. Not many new mechanics are created later. And the mechanics very familiar to the old might be very fresh and revolutionary to the new.
For example, <Angry Birds>’s mechanic is very simple and very old. But we do not say it is not funny or it is outdated. We, frankly, are playing it with fun.
B. Outdated Stereotype – Some laws are embeded in our mind. Such the save point in RPG and HP or aiming in FPS are examples. We should reconsider if they are must-have features in today’s games.
C. Fighting with Gamers – The games in the past are mainly about playing against PC. So games with a hell level are acceptable. Old gamers actually somewhat enjoyed playing and winning the impossible level. Limited choice on game at that time also encouraged them playing it so hard.
But the developers who had played those maniac games are trying to develop an online game with hell level. No. Wrong.
Challenging features had worked for the old but not any more. The new want easy and simple but fun game.
4. What Are the New?
A. TV Generation – Young people are familiar to TV instead of text. They are strong with learning multiple and emotional?information in a short time, but are weak to imagine such things, to understand logically, and to express their inner thought.
B. Born gamers - In the past, the game was a culture for small groups but it is now nothing more than one of ordinary entertainment to today’s generation. Therefore spreading the games to friends is pretty easy and quick.
C. Oversupply – So many free and exciting PC, flash, mobile, web, or console games are out there today. So gamers are interested in ‘what is more fun’ than ‘which game to play’.
They do not like sending money for game. Sadly, purchasing game is no longer plausible.
D. Virtual Notion Is OK - The new are pleased with virtual goods as long as they are entertained and beneficial through it. Purchasing virtual goods is no longer extraordinary.
5. How to Make A Good Game for the New?
The old need to communicate with the new and study them one by one. Many old developers are likely to be bound to ‘the rules of the game’. But the new are more likely to get excited by experience rather than the rule.
He is not saying the old’s game will never entertain the new. The fact that the basic mechanics developed a decade or even two decades ago still remain today means the root of the game’s excitement is still the same in spite of different generations.
So the old should try to convey the amusement and excitement we had had to the new with fancy technique.