Retro Remakes is a new contest that runs from June 1 (today) through August 31. The contest wants games that are remade with accessibility in mind. Specifically, the contest wants: “Good remakes of good games that anyone can play, regardless of their ability.” They’re interested in games that limit the required means of user interaction. After all, most games require strong visual and auditory skills, as well as two hands with fast reflexes. For many people, that’s far too many requirements and altering those to be focused on one hand, or to place more emphasis on sound and less on vision, enables more people to play.
Plus, good design principles are about limits and allowances. Good design for games should allow players to play in fairly open ways. However, good design often limits user interaction so that users have a clear sense of what they should and shouldn’t do. This makes game play less confusing and less frustrating. Good web design follows the same principles with good design steering users/players toward the right choices while stifling users’ desires to do something less desirable. Bad design often overly restricts actions without providing a motivating factor for its constraints. Code, literature, and poetry have all explored different possibilities for working within constraints, deviating from standards and constraints, and establishing new constraints. Contests like Retro Remakes encourage game designers to do the same and to think about their players as a diverse group of folks with different needs. While the DS (and soon the Wii) offer new playing styles, more games need to offer ways for everyone to play. Retro Remakes is a big step in the right direction, and I can’t wait to see what the winning games are.
Plasma Pong is a completely tripped-out version of regular Pong that incorporates fluid dynamics. In addition to deflecting the ball with your paddle, you can now use jets and vortices of fluid pressure to help guide the ball. And all of this is rendered in a super-colorful “plasma” style. If you love the visual style of games like Geometry Wars, Mutant Storm, and Darwinia, then you need to check this one out. Click here to download Plasma Pong, free for Windows PCs.
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Alternative Games is an independent webzine focused on all forms of unorthodox gaming, eccentric game culture, and problematic play.
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