Sunday, June 20, 2021
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Taking a brief lesson in game design from Nintendo

The premise is exquisite: a peek beyond the gates of that curiously nondescript Kyoto office block that Nintendo calls home to see how the magic is made; not so much getting a golden ticket for the factory tour and more about getting a step-by-step guide from Wonka himself on the process, so you might see where all that sweetness and light comes from. The execution seems typically Nintendo; often inspired, at other points frustrating but never anything less than fascinating.

After its reveal earlier this month, Nintendo recently afforded us another, more detailed look at Game Builder Garage. At its very heart are the Nodons, anthropomorphic embodiments of the building blocks of each creation, and each with a distinct personality. The Nodon that controls the camera function, for example, is a luvvie, while the Nodon assigned to each button is a hardy little thing. Elsewhere the Nodon that governs the in-game timer is a thing of strict logic, while the retry button is an old-timer filled with regrets wishing he could do things over again.

If the Nodons are the heart of Game Builder Garage, its backbone is provided by the seven lessons that guide you through the game making process. There’s Tag Showdown, a side-on two player affair; On A Roll, a marble madness-esque tilt puzzle powered by motion control; Alien Blaster, an old school shooting game; Risky Run, your garden 2D platformer; Mystery Room, which introduces the third dimension into your toolbox and Thrill Racer, a driving game with AI elements for your opponents.

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The premise is exquisite: a peek beyond the gates of that curiously nondescript Kyoto office block that Nintendo calls home to see how the magic is made; not so much getting a golden ticket for the factory tour and more about getting a step-by-step guide from Wonka himself on the process, so you might see where all that sweetness and light comes from. The execution seems typically Nintendo; often inspired, at other points frustrating but never anything less than fascinating.

After its reveal earlier this month, Nintendo recently afforded us another, more detailed look at Game Builder Garage. At its very heart are the Nodons, anthropomorphic embodiments of the building blocks of each creation, and each with a distinct personality. The Nodon that controls the camera function, for example, is a luvvie, while the Nodon assigned to each button is a hardy little thing. Elsewhere the Nodon that governs the in-game timer is a thing of strict logic, while the retry button is an old-timer filled with regrets wishing he could do things over again.

If the Nodons are the heart of Game Builder Garage, its backbone is provided by the seven lessons that guide you through the game making process. There’s Tag Showdown, a side-on two player affair; On A Roll, a marble madness-esque tilt puzzle powered by motion control; Alien Blaster, an old school shooting game; Risky Run, your garden 2D platformer; Mystery Room, which introduces the third dimension into your toolbox and Thrill Racer, a driving game with AI elements for your opponents.

Read more

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