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Thinking Out Loud

Monday, March 20, 2006

New Horizons >> Recent Game Innovations OTHER Than Mechanics/Gameplay

I know, I know, I've been ignoring my blog. Shame on me. I wish I could say that it's because I've been so busy gaming, or have gotten a new job, or won the lottery and didn't have time for all this nonsense. Nope, I've just been busy with lots of boring things, and hadn't felt the spark of inspiration for a while.

But I'm back in the saddle today, and just finished writing a new GeekList over on BoardGameGeek titled New Horizons >> Recent Game Innovations OTHER Than Mechanics/Gameplay. Here's the lead-in blurbage and first entry. Boy I love thinking about games. Why couldn't someone pay me for that?

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As I look at my growing collection, I am constantly amazed at the variety found in games today. Especially when looking at the creativity and ingenuity shown in the gaming industry that goes beyond the gameplay or mechanics. Over the last 15-odd years, there have been countless innovations that have dramatically changed (though I hesitate to say "improved" in all cases) the landscape of modern gaming. Some of these innovations are physical in nature -- a new way to develop components, for example. Others are intangible, such as an innovation of marketing or accessibility.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Also, please note that I'm not necessarily listing games that were the "first" of its kind to bear a particular innovation -- merely a game that comes to mind as a strong example. If you can share some information about the first game to adopt a certain innovation, please share it with us. Oddly enough, many of the things I thought of as innovations can trace their roots back, one way or another, to collectable/customizable gaming, or more specifically to Magic The Gathering.

What do you think?
What other non-gameplay related innovations have come into the scene in the last 10-15 years? What games were heavily influenced by these innovations? Are these innovations here to stay, or simply a fad that will fade?

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Innovation: Collectible/Customizable Format

I can't think of a single other game that changed the landscape of modern gaming over the last 15 or so years as greatly as MTG. It introduced many brand new concepts and innovations, but I'll focus on the collectable/customization innovation. Developing a game that offers several tiers of immersion and interaction. There's the collection fix, where you acquire new pieces and expand your game base. There's the construction fix, when you wile away the hours tinkering with combinations. There's the actual game itself.

MTG created a new genre of gaming, but also ushered in a new mode of thinking about games -- a game can become much more than a single box purchased once. It can become an ever expanding, ever evolving experience that grows as the user grows.

Games That Followed Suit: A countless stream of CCGs following MTG's lead (Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, AGOT, you name it), and numerous other formats. WizKids click games, ChiZo Rising, Blue Moon, Battlegrounds, Navia Dratp the list goes on.

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You can read the rest of this GeekList over at BGG.

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