When Quirky Just Ain't Enough

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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When Quirky Just Ain't Enough

It's no surprise to find that, in many cases, a lot of gamers are sick to death of the big pile of more of the same that so often lands on their store shelves. But what happens when quirky just isn't enough to carry the day? A recent report detailed just what happens, and the news isn't good for anyone.

A report from Gamasutra details the imminent closure of the Glitch MMO, which by reports of those who played it pretty much had the market cornered on quirky. Calling this game "unoriginal" represented standards that were absolutely impossible to meet; after all, what kind of game will allow you to massage a butterfly, with butterfly lotion, in order to obtain butterfly milk, or get wheat by squeezing a chicken? But as it turned out, just sheer originality wasn't enough to pull a crowd. What was missing was that crucial bit of "fun", a hard facet to crystallize, but at the same time, an absolutely vital part to have in place.

Essentially, the team behind Glitch couldn't find that fun factor and get it incorporated into gameplay, not fast enough to keep the players interested. Some believe this was the main problem, though not necessarily the only problem; the team behind Glitch didn't have much of a background in games, but rather in enterprise and web services. Flash also proved to be a bit confining for their likes, which kept them firmly in the browser market at the worst possible time: the growth of tablet gaming. By the time they realized their mistake, they'd put nearly a year of work into the game and were understandably loath to throw it over.

Originality in gaming is important. Sure, everyone's off playing the latest Call of Duty Whatever, but a lot of that is for the sheer spectacle and, of course, that always-present "fun factor". It's vital to any game; if it's not fun to play, the purpose of the game is lost. While the fun changes from person to person--some like online gaming, gaming with friends in person, a particular kind of gameplay (for example, I loved Saints Row 3's jet bike play allowing me to go literally anywhere, all without traffic getting in the way, and the searchable drawers and cabinets of the Fallout and Elder Scrolls games)--but it's seldom standard, and it's always a must.

Pinning down that fun may be difficult, but it must be done in order to get anywhere.
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