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Extra Credits: Balancing for Skill

This time Extra Credits talks about balancing the powers granted players in a game with the skill level necessary to execute said power. As with a lot of things Extra Credits covers, it's a concept that sounds a lot simpler than it actually is.

Extra Credits: Combining Genres

Extra Credits takes a brief look at combining genres. They give some pretty nice examples of it working (Puzzle Quest) and examples of it not being such a bright idea. Something to keep in mind as genre blending has been kicked into overdrive over the last few years.

Extra Credits: Counter Play

Extra Credits discusses the design concept of "Counter Play." The idea here is that in a multiplayer game, there should be interesting abilities or weapons that a player can use on another player that is also interesting for that player on whom the weapon or ability is being used. It's a seemingly simple idea that upon discussion appears to be something the industry hasn't wrapped its head around yet.

Extra Credits: "My Name Is Ozymandias..."

Points go to the Extra Credits crew (and basically anyone who talks about preserving old, landmark games), but a lot of this just seems "pie in the sky." As mentioned in the video, a lot of the technology that ran and interfaced with these early titles do not even exist any longer. The only solution would be an industry-wide investment, resurrecting arcades, building kiosks, museums, you name it, just so some kid can play Battletech or Space War as was originally intended. When you really think about it, it seems that these treasures are doomed to obscurity.

Extra Credits: Horror Protagonists

The Extra Credits guys give us a quick summary on the importance of the horror game protagonists. After recent comments pertaining to the reception of Resident Evil 6, the creators of Resident Evil really need to watch this video before they even think about returning the Resident Evil to its survival-horror roots. Such an about-face would require a level of expertise (and guts!) that Capcom hasn't demonstrated in over a a decade.

Extra Credits: Demo Daze

There is a surprising downside to video game demos. With fewer and fewer options available for those that might want to try a game before buying it, demos are the default option. But demos have the adverse effect of underselling a good game or demonstrating how bad a bad game really is. Understandably, many developers and publishers aren't willing to take that chance. Where does that leave us? The guys at Extra Credits take a look.

Video: Realistic Fighting Game

This is why the fighting game genre will never go away. The real thing just winds up making you look like a useless wimp.

Caution: Crude language

Extra Credits: Aesthetics of Play

Extra Credits comes with another interesting game design breakdown. It is, as they readily admit, a bit heavy in game theory, but being aware of this aspect of game creation can go a long way toward a gamer understanding how limiting our current genres actually are. We might also see how limited our game creators are and why some titles simply miss being that breakout hit.

Extra Credits: Beyond Fun

The guys at Extra Credits ask if the video game industry can move beyond games that are simply "fun." Where are the tragic gaming experiences that don't provide a happy ending? Where are the deep, thoughtful experiences that can't be summed up in a catchy subtitle on the box or communicated clearly via box art? We've seen this question pop up frequently during the last few years and we've even seen the creation of a category of games called "serious games" come out of that discussion. As the name implies, it includes games that provide gamers with something other than entertainment. We've also seen the indie games industry pick up the mantle and releasing promising experimental games across the various platforms.

But efforts like that do not reach the mainstream and Extra Credits argues that it is well past time for the industry as a whole to head in that direction. Without true breadth of content, games will never escape the children's plaything or disposable diversion stigma. An entertainment medium seen as having little to no value cannot fight censorship attacks as we are now seeing in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre. The Obama Administration and Congress might not be so quick to act if there were anything more than grey military shooters and primary-colored wish fulfillment populating store shelves.

Extra Credits: Starting Off Right

Extra Credits talks about hooking the player within the first five minutes. Honestly, this sounds like something all developers would understand to be necessary in capturing the attention of the average person. Television, movies, music, texting, the Internet and other games are all waiting to steal a consumer's attention (and dollars) should a game fail to immediately hook a gamer. But it's hard to argue that this isn't the case. Why else would we still hold up older games like God of War, BioShock and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as examples of doing it right? Why else would so many great games languish on "To be Played Later" shelf and sit there long after the hardware they were made for has been discontinued?

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