Game design is a serious business. Behind the amazing fun and fluidity of your favorite video game belies a lot of thought and due process: Where do we place this platform for a player to jump on, and why? What sort of music should we use? How do the characters look, and even how far can they reach with bounding boxes?
Ask fighting game enthusiasts and they’ll tell you those bounding boxes matter. Even in something like the 2001 Game Boy Advance title Wario Land 4.
The latest book to join the quiet but growing discourse on video game designs and impacts is Daniel Johnson’s Game Design Companion: A Critical Analysis of Wario Land 4. Johnson is an ex-writer for sadly defunct (or perma-hiatus) GameSetWatch, which was an amazing site to dig through in its heyday. He’s also a game design analyst.
The game of choice is pretty interesting too, examining in depth the video game Wario Land 4. While not the first game people think of when they think of great game design, Johnson’s book purports to go in-depth into the game via evidence-based analysis rather than socio-cultural critique that will dissect the various parts that make up the whole, such as mechanics, psychology, education, level design and game feel.
Johnson said he hopes the 600-page behemoth “will push against the accepted norms of ‘games criticism’ and open up new avenues for analytical discussion.”
The book is available from Stolen Projects starting Wednesday 18th December at $7.99, with a special introductory price of $4.99 till the end of January. The e-book comes in both .pdf and .epub formats, with a Kindle version planned for future release.