Fans making games

As a class, we’re playing Gamestar Mechanic, a game that teaches how to build games. I just picked up LittleBigPlanet 2, which is a game that also provides in-game tools for building games. Echochrome, one of my favorite puzzle games, comes with tools for players to build their own levels.

My friend Dr. Anastasia Salter writes and teaches about games. In her paper “‘Once more a kingly quest’: Fan games and the classic adventure genre”, she discusses fanmade remakes of games like the King’s Quest games, Maniac Mansion, and others. Here’s the paper’s abstract (you can read the whole thing online at Transformative Works and Cultures):

[0.1] Abstract—The classic adventure games—part of the earliest traditions of interactive narrative—have not disappeared, although they no longer occupy space on the shelves at the local computer store. Even as changing hardware and operating systems render these games of the 1980s and 1990s literally unplayable without emulating the computer systems of the past, fans are keeping these stories alive. Authorship of these games has changed hands: it is now under the control of the fans, the former and current players. Through the online sharing of fan-created game design tool sets and of the fan-created games themselves, these new coauthors create a haven to revisit these decades-old games using fresh eyes and fresh systems. The products of these folk art–reminiscent efforts also offer a venue to reconsider video game fandom in light of genres. They also allow us to understand these “personal games,” productions of one or more people that are not intended for commercial sale, as carrying the heritage of the classic era forward into the next generation of gaming.

Between games that teach games and the availability of tools for gamers to make their own games from scratch, people are not only growing up video games but also with the ability and tools to build their own. So as you’re working on making your games in Gamestar Mechanic, what are your thoughts about gamers as game makers?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Craig Belpedio
    Jan 23, 2011 @ 14:18:32

    I’d like to point out that Bungie’s recent release of Halo: Reach has these features, as well. Bungie took their already-powerful Forge tool from Halo 3 and vastly improved on it. They took their pre-existing tools and upgraded the features, and then went and added completely new features (some features came directly from fans finding a way to do a particular thing in Halo 3’s Forge and Bungie wanting to make that easier for players). They’ve also improved the gameplay-creation features, meaning you can create just about any game type you want. It’s a very, very impressive system.


  2. Alex Rich
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 22:09:21

    I am all for fans making games. Each gamer has a slightly unique experience when playing a game and, as a result, learns somewhat unique skills. Allowing gamers with unique learning experiences to make games means there will be more games on the market and that new games or variations on old games will teach somewhat unique skills. As a result, more information will be taught and gamers will have more selection in terms of games and will be able to pick a game that works for them.


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