Not to offend, but why are you over-analyzing gameplay mechanics in the abstract versus actually creating games and tweaking them until they feel "right"?
Seems like a bit of veiled procrastination to me...
I'm a professional procrastinator, but in this case, there's kind of a good reason. I'm trying to figure out how much of my 'mission statement' I should to stick with. It seemed like we were going with "remember they are only guidelines, so you are free to mix in your favorite parts of mainstream games." But now it seems my mission is supposed to be to try to make at least one fun game that that helps people relieve stress, relax, and feel like they are the blanket
Look, none of this is meant to be personal. Some of my best friends are dirty, pot-smoking hippies! But certainly, if social (or religious, or political) activism of any kind comes to the forefront of a game's design, chances are what you will wind up with isn't a "game" but rather a piece of preachy propaganda dressed up in game-like clothes. I have nothing specifically against the Bible, but have you ever see any of these Bible-themed games? Most of them are pathetically bad. Worse, they are usually given to kids who are already inundated with this stuff by their parents and other adults on a daily basis. So whether its the "Woodcraft Folk" vegans with their exciting "Identify Tree Game" up there or Wisdom Tree's "Bible Adventures", trying to teach morality through a video game feels unnecessary and stapled-on. Really, there doesn't appear to be much difference between "let's get rid of competition and winning in games" and Jack Thompson's crusade against sex and violence in video games. Personally I don't care if a game has violence, sex, Mormons or grown men hugging trees. It just ought to be fun and engaging.
You seem to be focusing on one group that is into cooperative games. There are others. Anyway, I also think that cheesy games that have a tacked on religious or political message suck. The games I'm talking about don't need to have a message, they are the message.
Getting back to the rules, I'm not sure a gaming session can generate the kind of prolonged stress that may have adverse health effects.
Besides any quotes about the subject that you can collect, I've seen some controller throwers with my own eyes, especially during the NES years, who did not feel better when they beat a game. They might feel relived that it's over, but the hours of fight or flight has left them feeling irritable, anxious, and possibly depressed with a chance of mood swings.
Whenever there is a goal, competition will naturally arise. And if there's no goal, it's not a game. It's a toy. It could be a great and entertaining toy, but it's not a game.
The goal should be to have fun and feel relaxed. A lot of things you'd consider to be games aren't games. They're static action puzzles. Enemies or obstacles start in the same positions every time and usually perform a prearranged set of moves that never seem to change when the game is replayed. There is no replay value. You solve the 'puzzle' or memorize all of the 'dance steps' and your work is done. And that's exactly what it is, work, not play.
When it comes to having fun and truly playing, we might want to create some video toys instead of video games if the word 'game' must always be tied to competition and winning in your mind. When you look up 'game' in the dictionary, it can also simply mean "amusement or pastime," so that's something we might want to remember when creating new games.
Thanks again to everybody who posted in this thread. It really is helping me to think and bring things into focus.
Edited by Random Terrain, Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:47 AM.