Simplistic Design in Video Game Design: The Key to Engaging and Accessible Games

Mar 24, 2023 | Blog

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Simplistic Design in Video Game Design: The Key to Engaging and Accessible Games

Tips and Examples for Implementing Simplistic Design in Your Game

When it comes to designing video games, there are many elements to consider. From the game mechanics to the storyline, there are countless components that must come together to create a successful game. However, one aspect of game design that is often overlooked is simplicity. In this article, we will explore the importance of simplistic design when beginning a video game design, for both new game designers and veteran game designers in the video game industry.

What is Simplistic Design?

Simplistic design refers to the practice of keeping things simple and straightforward. In video game design, this can mean simplifying the game mechanics, minimizing the number of buttons or controls required, or streamlining the overall gameplay experience. The goal of simplistic design is to create a game that is easy to learn and accessible to a wide range of players.

Why is Simplistic Design Important?

There are several reasons why simplistic design is important in video game design. First and foremost, a simple design makes it easier for players to understand the game mechanics and gameplay. This is especially important for new players who may be unfamiliar with the game and its rules. A complex game with too many rules and mechanics can quickly become overwhelming and turn players off.

Additionally, a simplistic design can lead to better player engagement. By keeping things simple, players can focus on the game itself rather than trying to figure out how to play it. This can lead to a more enjoyable gameplay experience and keep players coming back for more.

Furthermore, simplistic design can also lead to cost savings for game developers. By simplifying the game mechanics and overall design, developers can create a game that is less expensive to produce. This can be especially important for indie game developers who may have limited budgets and resources.

Moreover, simplistic design can be an effective way to stand out in a crowded market. With so many games being released each year, it can be challenging to make a game that stands out. A simplistic design can be a way to differentiate your game from others and make it more appealing to players.

Tips for Implementing Simplistic Design

If you are a new game designer or a veteran in the industry, there are several tips you can use to implement simplistic design in your game:

  1. Focus on the Core Mechanics: When designing a game, focus on the core mechanics that make the game unique. These mechanics should be easy to understand and should be the primary focus of the game.
  2. Keep the Controls Simple: The controls should be easy to learn and use. Avoid using too many buttons or complex button combinations. If possible, use familiar control schemes that players are already familiar with.
  3. Streamline the Gameplay Experience: The gameplay experience should be smooth and seamless. Avoid unnecessary menus or screens that can slow down the game. Make sure that players can easily navigate the game and understand what they need to do.
  4. Test, Test, Test: Finally, make sure to test the game thoroughly. Get feedback from players and make adjustments as needed. The goal is to create a game that is easy to learn and fun to play.

Examples of Successful Simplistic Design

There are many successful games that have implemented simplistic design in their gameplay. One example is the mobile game Flappy Bird. The game has simple one-touch controls and a straightforward gameplay mechanic. Despite its simplicity, the game was incredibly addictive and became a viral hit.

Another example is the game Minecraft. Although the game has many features and mechanics, the core gameplay is simple and easy to understand. Players can quickly learn how to mine resources and build structures, which has led to the game’s massive success.

Similarly, the game Among Us is another popular example of simplistic design. The game has simple controls and gameplay mechanics, with players taking on the roles of crewmates or imposters on a spaceship. The gameplay involves completing tasks as a crewmate, while imposters try to sabotage and kill the crewmates without getting caught. The game’s success lies in its simple and easy-to-understand mechanics, which have made it a hit with players of all ages.

Another game that has successfully implemented simplistic design is the puzzle game Tetris. The game’s core mechanics involve arranging falling blocks to create complete lines, with simple controls that anyone can learn. The game’s addictive gameplay and simple design have made it one of the most popular and enduring video games of all time.

These examples show that simplistic design can be used in various game genres and can lead to success if implemented correctly.

The Benefits of Simplistic Design for Different Game Genres

Simplistic design can be beneficial for various game genres, including puzzle games, platformers, and action-adventure games. For puzzle games, the focus should be on the puzzle mechanics, with simple controls and intuitive gameplay. The game’s difficulty can increase gradually as the player progresses, keeping them engaged and motivated to complete the puzzles.

For platformers, the game mechanics should be easy to understand, with simple controls that allow players to jump, run, and climb. The gameplay should be engaging and rewarding, with clear objectives and challenges that increase in difficulty as the player progresses.

For action-adventure games, the focus should be on the game’s story and world-building, with simple controls and intuitive gameplay mechanics that allow players to explore and interact with the game’s environment. The game’s combat mechanics should be easy to learn, with simple controls that allow players to execute attacks and defend themselves.

By implementing simplistic design, game developers can create games that are accessible and enjoyable for players of all skill levels, regardless of the genre.

Challenges of Implementing Simplistic Design

While simplistic design can be beneficial for game design, it also comes with its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is creating a game that is simple yet engaging. It can be tempting to oversimplify the game’s mechanics and design, which can lead to a boring and unengaging gameplay experience.

Another challenge is balancing simplicity with depth and complexity. A game that is too simplistic can be boring, while a game that is too complex can be overwhelming for players. Finding the right balance can be challenging and requires careful consideration and testing.

Moreover, simplistic design can be challenging to implement in certain game genres, such as RPGs and strategy games. These games require more complex game mechanics and gameplay systems, which can be difficult to simplify without sacrificing depth and complexity.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, simplistic design is an important aspect of video game design. By keeping things simple, developers can create games that are easy to learn and engaging to play. Whether you are a new game designer or a veteran in the industry, implementing simplistic design can lead to a better gameplay experience for players and cost savings for developers. By focusing on the core mechanics, keeping the controls simple, streamlining the gameplay experience, and testing thoroughly, you can create a game that is both fun and accessible to players of all skill levels.

However, it’s essential to remember that simplistic design doesn’t mean sacrificing depth or complexity in gameplay. Rather, it’s about creating a streamlined experience that allows players to focus on the core mechanics of the game. This can lead to a more enjoyable experience and can help your game stand out from the competition.

Ultimately, whether you are developing a puzzle game or an action-adventure game, incorporating simplistic design can be a crucial element in creating a successful and engaging game.

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