One of the first steps to creating your own video game is to figure out what you like about your favorite games. If you read last Friday’s post by teen inventors Alyssa and Kaycee, you’ll recognize this as part of the research phase in game development — and it is also a lot of fun!
I’ve always loved simple arcade-style games that can be played with just arrow keys and a space bar (see controls below), so I’m reviewing the game Dogfight from The 39 Clues (you can sign up for an account at www.the39clues.com to play this game for free).
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
What was your mission? What were you trying to accomplish as you were playing?
In Dogfight, I get to be a WWI fighter pilot. My job is to shoot down enemy planes — fighter pilots, aces, bombers, and even a zeppelin. There are also anti-aircraft guns on the ground that I have to blow up. Each level is a separate mission that gets harder and harder as you play. There are more planes and harder enemies on each level until you get to the zeppelin boss. Shooting down the zeppelin wins the game.
What did you enjoy?
I liked figuring out the best way to fly in order to keep from getting hit. I enjoy games
where I have to evade something that is shooting at my character. I
also thought the graphics looked pretty cool.
What was hard or strange about the game?
At first, it was hard to figure out which way my plane would fly when I used the arrow keys. Since the idea is that you’re flying an airplane, I expected flight controls (down arrow is up, up arrow is down — like in a flight simulator). It also took me a while to figure out that holding down the space bar would keep me shooting the entire time. Tapping the space bar made me shoot too slowly, so the game seemed boring the first time I played.
What was your favorite part of the game? Graphics? Sound? Special effects? Theme?
I like how simple the game is; the graphics are interesting but not too intense. But even more than that, I like the WWI flying ace theme.
Now it’s your turn to review your favorite games! Do you like difficult simulation games like Sims? Do you like simple run-and-jump games like the old Mario Brothers games? Write us a comment about your favorite games and start thinking about a game you’d like to see come to life!
And tune in on Friday for our next blog entry to guide you through your original game development: a cheat sheet on different game genres.
— The Game On! Team