Negative Space

 

Both developers and players spend a serious amount of time and energy focusing on how we might get more out of games. More features. More content. More tough decisions. It’s easy to forget that sometimes… less is more.

Most titles where a single session lasts longer than a few minutes are best served by providing players at least a small measure of downtime. This “negative space” of game design is an important ingredient in proper pacing.

 

Good Pacing… Bad Design?

Games often incorporate features that might be considered a bit “boring” with the express purpose of giving players  a breather. If a game is 20 hours long and every last second of it from naming your character to the final credits is over-the-top intense, most people would be too stressed out to get anywhere close to the end!

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JRPGs & Persona 4

As I mentioned in episode #3 of TGDRT, I have a strange relationship with JRPGs. I’ve long been a fan of them, even though they’re some of the most egregious offenders when it comes to bad game design. Grinding, poor pacing, lack of tough decisions… my friends, the track record isn’t good. And yet… part of me still enjoys them a great deal.

In this article I’ll be digging into my thoughts on this guilty pleasure. We’ll also examine the genre’s holy grail, which masterfully combines the best elements of both the JRPG and strategy genres:

Atlus’ Persona 4.

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