Gamer’s Dream

I’m getting ready to go to bed. I say to myself “Tomorrow’s gonna be a better day”. Before I shut my lights out and set my alarm for the morning, my mom stops by my room and says “Sweet dreams“. “Thanks, you too” I say as I’m setting my alarm for the morning. After my mom goes to bed, being the rebel I am, I load up an old 80’s video game emulator I downloaded and start to play Pac-Man. Soon, I am asleep.

I hear my phone go off in the morning. I had the standard alarm tone for my ringer so I was up and moving as fast as I could. I hated that ringtone. I got out of bed and started my daily routine. I got dressed, ate breakfast and brushed my teeth, the usual things someone does when they wake up. My mom was already at work so I wouldn’t see her until the afternoon. I pickup my backpack and get ready to go to high school. I walk out the front door and as I walk out everything changes. All of my surroundings change to look like an old 8-bit video game. I drop my backpack in amazement. I look over at the road and I see toads hopping across, dodging cars as they go by like in Frogger. I look over to where my bus stop is and it wasn’t my bus stop anymore. Instead, I see Scorpion and Sub-Zero fighting in one of the old Mortal Kombat stages. I look up into the sky and I see a spaceship shooting at aliens that were attacking it. It reminded me of my favorite 80’s game, Space Invaders.

After I take everything in, I realize that I’m in a 80’s style, video game world. I felt unstoppable, invincible, like I could do whatever I wanted. I ran out past my house to see what else there was in this new world. I saw Bowser’s airship taking a princess to his castle in the distance. Then, I saw Q*bert hopping around on my neighbors roof, turning all of the tiles to a bright yellow.  As I was running, I saw a big brown dog running past me. I stopped to pet him. I realized that he was the dog from Duck Hunt. Suddenly, a hundred ducks flew by. Then, BANG, I saw a flash of red and orange and heard a loud gunshot. All I saw was darkness. Then two words came into my vision. The two words no gamer ever likes to see. In red, bold letters, the words “GAME OVER” were displayed. That’s when I woke up to my horrible alarm.

-Austin Abrams

The Big Bad: Basics of Videogame Villain Design

(Disclaimer: I don’t own any well known content that might appear)

How is a good videogame villain designed? This is the question that is going to be answered. Some of this is going to be very rudimentary stuff, and one can go a lot deeper if they really want to study this. Smart people have been making great villains for a long time. However, it is surprising how many games would benefit from applying some of the most surface level rules of villain design. Depending on the game being made, it is generally going to have one of two villain types. They are the mechanic villain and the narrative villain.

The mechanic villain is there to drive the action. They give the reason to use the game’s mechanics. These are characters like Bowser from Mario, Ganon from The Legend of Zelda, and Dr. Wily from Mega Man. These villains don’t need to be very complex. Functionally, they are more of a final boss then a character.

The important part of these guys is that the player feels good about challenging them. The player using all of their skill with the game’s mechanics should feel that, within the game’s narrative, what they just did could not be done by anybody with less skill than them. This is often why game designers resort to unknowable aliens or supernatural evils bent on humanity’s destruction. Continue reading