When a pitch turns from a dog to a diamond ..

Twice in the last 6 months, an idea I have had, or shared, for a game has turned from a dog, into a diamond.  The first time was when my son and I created the winning game for the May “Make a Game Thingy”.  We both thought that the game was OK and possibly had a bit of potential, but after winning and receiving some feedback from Steve Halliwell, we both realised that it definitely had some legs to progress to another level, plus it was a complete game in itself.

The second was when I pitched a game idea to (the same) Steve Halliwell as part of our Production 1 course.  We had the night to think of a game that we would/could still be playing in 10 years time.  Thinking of my own experiences, it is the simple games that keep me coming back … Solitaire, Mahjong, Minesweeper.

I had been toying with Minesweeper, but more along the lines of a sniper style game, where you are required to actually hit the targets, not hit the other squares but it wasn’t until the next morning that I came up with the idea of my pitch.  After Tony (an animation tutor attached to our class) said something about having a great name that will either create interest in your game or tell you what the game is about.

That is when “Death From Above” came into existence.  Over the next couple of minutes, I had enough information to pitch the idea, but as I listened to other pitches, I became more and more disillusioned with my pitch.  I thought it was a dog.

Some glowing feedback followed on which had me questioning my own assessment.  In the long run, it still failed to meet the brief, as we had to be prepared to develop a prototype over a week and there were too many questions as to the way to identify the targets.  Other options seemed to make more sense considering the one week deadline.

While I am not a Game Designer, it wouldn’t hurt to try and identify the positive aspects of these two games and work out:

1/. Why they are good games?

2/. What are my “blinkers” when I evaluate a game as a dog and get contrary feedback?

3/. How can I try and repeat the success of pitching game ideas?

I do know that “Death From Above” is now on my mental back burner as I try and work out some of the things that couldn’t be solved in a week.


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