A morning with… Small Worlds

“Journey is a lot like the indie game Small Worlds… The majority of the interactivity in both Journey and Small worlds consists of just continuing to move forward to see more of the world. This interactivity makes up some of the simplest kind of exploration there is. There aren’t ideas to explore, puzzles to solve, or systems to learn. You just move and observe. I greatly appreciate simplicity in art, but there are limits and rules on how to effectively convey a simple ideas.”

I really like this above quote that was lifted from “The End of the Journey” by Richard Terrell. Not because I agree with it, because I really don’t, but for it’s look at Journey and Small Worlds through a paradigm I wouldn’t have considered: games must have challenge. It’s a position I’m going to write more against at some point soon as part of a longer essay. In the meantime though, since Journey, which I really like, was being compared to Small Worlds, which I hadn’t heard of before a few days ago, I thought I’d see what it might have to offer.

2 thoughts on “A morning with… Small Worlds

  1. All digital interactive experiences don’t need challenge. That’s clear to me. Games, by the definition I use, must have some kind of challenge. Sure. This isn’t so big of a requirement though. The issue I tried to drive home is that whatever balance of challenge/non-challenge/or whatever other element you put into a product, it’s best to have the pros support each other in a way that “eliminates” their cons. In other words, it’s easy to add elements into a work that take away more than they add. Figuring out/explaining why and how this happens is tricky. So that’s the case I tried to argue.

    I wonder what you’re write in the future.


    1. Dan Cox

      Yeah, I agree that is tricky. It’s hard. I’ve got maybe a handful of projects of the dozens I’ve made that I think of are of any worth to show others. Trying to balance what makes up a game and what might not is not something I even remotely think I have a handle on — and maybe never will.

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