Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Game Design Concept: Rabbit Hole Gaming

Hello There,

As most gamers especially MMO ones are often qualified at least as "armchair game designers". Due to the fact they have consumed a lot of game content during the course of their hobby. With that said I would like to offer up another avenue of the TMA (Transmedia Access) term I have heard mentioned. Which is basically multiple game hardware devices all hooking up to the same game title. But each varying according to the type of game play offered. IE cell phones or portable game devices offer up a strategy layer, video game consoles an RPG layer and PC's the FPS component layer of game play to a specific game title.

My concept of "Rabbit Hole Gaming" piggybacks onto this TMA direction to gaming hardware inter-connectivity. Where say for example that cell phone of portable game device gamer encounters a puzzle in-game. After successfully solving it s/he obtains temporary access to a strategy portion of the game world. That often trickles down to the PC or video game console gamers during the course of their game session.

For the video console gamer during his/her own RPG game play can encounter a pogo.com like java like game. Where upon unlocking such a mini java based game it would further their active quest in their quest journal. For The PC gamer whom during their FPS combat discovers a hidden area where non-combat related game skills are needed. Much like the video console gamer a java like game appears where a level has to be completed. Much like the fantasy based "Rogue" class has to unlock a trap in a treasure chest. This PC gamer has to complete a java based puzzle game level akin to a locked safe tumbler that plays like "Tetris". That would unlock additional game content in this randomly spawning hidden area in the game world.

Rabbit Hole Gaming is what binds further the enrichment of game play for all game hardware platforms. Tapping into the same game title simultaneously, where often one game platform will affect all the others. Where the often lauded gamers effecting their course of the game world has been cited but achieved often with mediocre results.


(Note: This entry has been updated on 9/28/10)

Noting this original concept was posted to my blog site back in early 2006. Where now the advent of Apple gadgets be they iPhones to iPads will push out portable gaming even further. TMA (Trans Media Access) which was coined by someone else in game development has yet to fully materialize in any games. Yes, recently your smart phone can be alerted to progress on a Facebook game for instance. But this is still in its infancy from being embraced as a whole as a game feature.

Picturing a portable gaming device be it a smart phone to a Sony PSP that interacts with a MMO game title using a strategy layer. (including real time or turn based strategy) A video game console and a PC / Mac utilizing both RPG and FPS elements to game play. Where all forms of hardware connectivity integrate voice chat features, by having a less of a reliance on text chat messages.

If not an MMO game title consider a multiplayer game title that is not just for the FPS genre. That uses TMA game features to enhance game play, perhaps something to how the "Never Winter Nights" RPG series allowed for multiplayer servers.

"Rabbit Hole Gaming" can certainly push the boundaries of gaming for a game developer & publisher that is bold enough to seize it. The gamers are ready for this transformation, but are the deciding business suits willing?

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