Full game or just a concept?

Posted by
April 21st, 2013 8:55 pm

Hello guys. I’m in LD26. I was in LD25 Compo, and participated in LD24 Jam with a team of some of my high school students (We called ourselves gbellgames ).

I’ve been thinking about Ludum Dare as a whole, and there two things that really bugs me.

One of them is the fact that most of the games are just, at most, concepts tests. Some games are simple nice concepts or ideas that last for like 5 minutes, if that much.  Don’t get me wrong, some of them are really genious, brilliant stuff, but I find hard it calling them “videogames” when they are so short-lived.

I personally have real difficulty to share a game made by me if it’s not a proper game, that make people want to play for longer than just the 5 minutes that takes  to grade it.  The 2 games I’ve worked for Ludum Dare were like that. You could call them good games or bad games, but they were *complete* games, not just a demo for a concept.

Of course, sometimes people just can’t cram a lot of content in a game in 48 hrs of development, but I wonder if some people just focus too much in trying to create a supposedly innovative concept, and they just forget about actually doing a game.

So, what you guys think about this?

(The other thing that bugs me is how people confuses artsy bullcrap with decent gameplay, but that’s for another post :) )


7 Responses to “Full game or just a concept?”

  1. Osgeld says:

    I dunno, I grew up during the age of a video game doing 1-4 screens and looping forever

    • shatterhand says:

      You know, doing 1-4 screens and looping forever is something I’d call a “complete game”.
      I also grew at that era. I see Pacman, Galaga or Donkey Kong as “complete games”, and those game can last for hours and hours, and you can have hours of fun with them.

      You can have something polished and fun in 48 hours. I am not talking about great GFX and SFX and a complex history and stuff like that. What I mean is a complete gameplay experience that doesn’t last for just 5 minutes.

      Also, A game can last 5 minutes but have lots of replayability, like Caravan shooters and stuff like that. But if the game is always the same, there’s no replayability in there.

  2. hdon says:

    In contrast to what Osgeld says, I appreciate the focus on concept. If you want to make a finished game, don’t enter a 48-hour contest. I hope your submission turns out well!

  3. Gremlin says:

    That’s the nature of the beast. There’s a few people with enough practice to turn out something really polished, but a 48-hour jam isn’t meant to produce a lot of polished stuff. It’s about experimenting and pushing limits. If you want to practice polishing, that’s another limit to be pushed.

    Every Ludum Dare has at least a few people who take their game and keep working on it after everything is over.

  4. Dietrich Epp says:

    I can’t disagree more.

    Half of the fun is making the game, and half of the fun is the Ludum Dare community which is an awesome community. I rated over 100 games last time I participated, and got a window into 48 hours of 100 creative minds trying to figure out how to make the theme work for their games. Plenty of those games lasted five minutes but so what… am I supposed to be thankful that a game can stretch on for hours? No! Those five minutes are great! Do I need replayability? No! I can always play another round of FTL some other time.

    I love the fact that we get all kinds of games and all kinds of interpretations of the theme. We get games which are cut from common molds, tons of garden-variety shooters and platformers–and we also get highly conceptual, abstract games, where the theme is a core part of gameplay. You can be as experimental as you want.

    Don’t tell future LDers what they should and shouldn’t do in their games. Let everyone decide for themselves.

  5. shatterhand says:

    Sorry, I am not trying to tell what people should or should not do, I am just trying to have a conversation about this matter.

    By the way, what’s FTL ?

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