Things not to do in IF – things I’ve come up with from playing this year’s IF Comp

Begin the game with your PC waking up.

Give the PC amnesia as a plot device or to facilitate exposition.

Give the PC a master plan which the player doesn’t know.

Be unclear about the PC’s goals or options.

Require the player to play the PC out of character, or to do things that are not well-motivated by the character.

Subject the player to long expository, non-interactive cut-scenes.

Subject the player to long non-interactive or agencyless flashbacks.

In general, subject the player to long dream sequences or head-trips in which the player has no agency.

Keep the player’s movements and actions tightly controlled throughout the entire game.

Leave the player’s options so open he can’t determine what he should be doing next.

Have puzzles fail, putting the game in an unwinnable state, without notifying the player that the game is unwinnable because the puzzle has failed.

Have puzzles fail to fail, where there’s only one way to do it and nothing else makes anything happen.

Put the player in a barren or static environment.

End the game too suddenly, without giving the player a reasonable clue that he is about to win, rather than solve a major puzzle.

Play games about giving the user hints or help, by making the help file difficult to access, or by giving false clues, or by mouthing off to the player who uses the help system.

Say anything negative about your game in the About text or Credits.

Say anything negative about other peoples’ games in the About text or Credits.

Say anything particularly at all about your game in the About text or Credits, other than to provide information about your game and to give credits to contributors.

Treat the About text or Credits as a soap-box.

Intentionally defeat UNDO as a way of making your game more difficult.

Hide the fact that there is a better ending.  If you have done something clever and subtle, you must at least tip your hand that there is something clever and subtle going on.

Over-use locked doors.

Over-use signs with instructions.

Make puzzles out of guess-the-word sequences.

Require the player to play to a long, determined, non-interactive script.

Make the player replay that non-interactive script repeatedly.

Dis hypnotists.

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Published in: on November 2, 2009 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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