It all comes down to one word: simplicity. This sounds very easy but creating a simple game experience is one of the most difficult elements of game design. In the social and mobile space, the games that are most appealing to the mass market are those that are very straightforward, simple experience. You can understand the game and start playing in the time it takes to get a latte at Starbucks (and often for less money). If you think of the games that have defined casual and social gaming, including Bejeweled, Farmville, Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga, they are all easy to begin playing and simple to understand. Yet how many thousands of companies have unsuccessfully tried to quickly follow these successes with disappointing results?
Have fun fast
The key factor is that the player should be able to start playing and having fun immediately. They should not have to memorize an intricate system or go through a long tutorial. No long manuals, no Google searches, no emailing friends for instructions should be needed, or even considered, by the player. First, the player needs to be exposed immediately to the core game loop, that is the underlying mechanic the makes the game fun and keeps the player coming back. The quicker the player gets engaged with the core game loop, and not distracted by other features, the better. This engagement is seldom achieved through a tutorial, a convoluted story or mini-games. Design your game so the player can start playing quickly and understand what they are doing and their goals without it being explained to them. Continue reading “The secret of creating a hit game”