The other day, a friend of mine contacted me asking for some advice. He was looking for some friends to develop a game with him. Since it was going to be an out-of-class project, he wanted it to try to build something a bit less conventional in terms of its gameplay and have an interesting game for his portfolio. However, as we talked, I realized that he was having trouble comprehending the concept of game mechanics and how they work together to make a cohesive unit. I came up with an exercise to help him understand, and thought I’d share it.
First, take a video game and try to improve the gameplay it by changing one of its mechanics. You are not allowed to change content. An example of this would be removing the ability to throw in a football game. How this change affects the game as a whole, and how it accomplishes your goal of improving it?
Next, try to change one of the mechanics in order to make it appeal to a different audience. What kinds of games do people from this audience tend to play? How does your change make the game more appealing to these fans?