Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design

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July 9th, 2006

Game Idea #28: Game Designer Trivia

I thought I’d do something different to celebrate the halfway point in the quest…

High Concept:

Game Designer Trivia is a game designed to test just how much you know about your favorite games and the people who created them. Think you know a lot about games? Let’s find out!



Why it needs to be made:

The first thing you learn in film school is that it’s the director that matters the most in the process of making a great movie. Even though creating games is a team-effort, there are some designers who rise above and really are the “authors” of their games… and they deserve to be known and recognized. Some of these guys (and gals) already get plenty of attention, but others you may have never heard of.


Game Designer Trivia is a very simple game. It asks you to name who designed a certain game, or which game a certain designer created. As you answer correctly you build up points and improve your “batting average.” After answering so many questions the game tells you how you’re doing. Like I said – a simple trivia game.

This could be expanded to include more complicated questions: questions about the designer’s style or a personal signatures he puts on his games. Or you could have the player match games that have been designed by the same person. You could even base the questions on games you know the player has played before (via Xbox Live and whatnot).

Why it will be fun:

They say the most fun games are the one the designer himself finds fun. Well, as geeky as it is, I find this game to be fun. As for everyone else, well, I hope you enjoy it. If you like finding patterns and thinking about the people who make games the way I do, you just might.

Final thoughts:

A friend recently told me he only reads the summaries of the game ideas. So here’s a treat for all of you who made it this far: a playable version of Game Designer Trivia. Enjoy!

13 Responses to “Game Idea #28: Game Designer Trivia”

  1. awa64 commented:
    posted July 9th, 2006 at 1:56 am

    Wow… that was a fun little diversion. Even though I batted .625 or thereabouts, I really feel like I ought to be better than I was–and almost like I cheated, too.

    A lot of the games, you could figure out who made the game through process of elimination–given one Japanese name and three American names, it’s pretty easy to pick out the one responsible for Chrono Trigger.

    On the other hand, there were a few that I think legitimately helped me learn. It drudged up the factoid in my brain that the same person (Davey Jones) was responsible for GTA and Lemmings. Getting an answer wrong for one Acclaim-developed game led me to the right answer for a second Acclaim-developed game.

    I definitely would like to see this expand out into more advanced questions, though. Like “Which game is the odd man out,” “Which of these creators was not involved in this game,” or maybe even an Oracle of Bacon-esque linking game.

    It may not be a concept with broad appeal, but I definitely like it and wouldn’t mind seeing it expanded on. (Of course, I’d love to be able to take a class on the history of the game industry, and learn all these names in the first place. Get some background on the games’ development, that sort of thing.)

    Love the blog. Love the ideas (always clever). I hope they never end.


  2. -miguel commented:
    posted July 9th, 2006 at 11:39 am

    Obligatory score posting: 20 points (.800)

    I’d love to see an expanded version of this! I know the emphasis is on designer’s but it would be great to see prominent game artists and musicians and production trivia added as well.

    In the bizzaro world where this could be made into a commercial quality game, it would be neat to have the interfaces for answering questions mirror various old school games. E.g. it asks a question, and then you have to pick out and shoot the correct answer in a mock game of space invaders. Early answers could move so slowly you have unlimited time, but as you get closer to the end of the game they’d speed up forcing the player to really think fast.

  3. Michael Chui commented:
    posted July 9th, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    I got .520, but I cheated on one of the questions: I was curious, halfway through, about why you needed Javascript for it to work (I have it disabled by default), so I glanced at the source code. And… the answers were there. =P

    It was kinda fun, indeed. I don’t think that the process of elimination strategies awa64 mentioned are bad; part of the nature of trivia games is to let you figure out the answer even if you didn’t know it before. Jeopardy! works like that, I know, and I watch that show in order to learn trivia.

  4. Emmeline Dobson commented:
    posted July 10th, 2006 at 4:19 am

    22 points / “batting 880″

    My Japanese language helps me remember Japanese names…

    While it’s great to raise awareness that designers can lend a certain style and portfolio of quality to title after title, this quiz isn’t going to interest anyone but die-hard geeks. What I think would work better would be a more museum-like approach. Perhaps something like the game innovation database:

    …but with the addition of playable titles listed chronologically under a certain designer’s entry. Then you could build up a sense of what this creator’s games have in common. The Game On exhibition we had at Barbican London a few years back did something like this but with the focus dispersed over the ENTIRE games industry. There wouldn’t be enough floor space for my hypothetical museum except in an exhibition building devoted to the purpose. :)

  5. Patrick Moran commented:
    posted July 11th, 2006 at 9:14 am

    Giving the informality and immaturity of the game industry as a whole, it would be fun to incorporate edgy and humorous commentary from real Game Designers as well. Bring on Tim Schafer!

  6. Carl commented:
    posted July 12th, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    I love how you got Fumito Ueda in there, Shadow of the Colossus has become my favorite PS2 game to date, (well single player)

  7. Nick Lowe commented:
    posted July 12th, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    Good stuff, but a fairly small sample set.

    Obligatory score posting: “You’ve scored 23 points! You’re batting 920!”

  8. zmaster123 commented:
    posted July 12th, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    i really liked this tivia even though i did ok, please if anyone has a 360 send me ur gamertag because zmaster123 is mine

  9. Darren Torpey commented:
    posted July 13th, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    When I have some more spare time, I really want to play more. It’s a fun way to refresh my memory on all this stuff, and that’s given the fact that I’d learned many of these facts in the last 2 months but only remembered half of them!

    I think that some of the most fun is when you can piece together the answer from peripheral facts you know. Option A designed for Sega, so he didn’t make X Nintendo game. Option C was made in Japan, so I don’t think Mr. Jones had a big hand in it. I learned from an incorrect answer two questions ago that option D made a Sega arcade game back there, so maybe he made this Sega arcade game as well.

    Good stuff. =)

    Oh, and it’s good to see Ed Boon in there, as well. Hail Noob Saibot! (what about Erik Yeo, designer of Command & Conquer? haven’t seen him yet…)

  10. Scott Banwart’s Blog » Blog Archive » links for 2006-07-14 commented:
    posted July 18th, 2006 at 6:39 am

    […] Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design » Archive » Game Idea #28: Game Designer Trivia (tags: games trivia) […]

  11. Let’s Play: Who Made That GAME!! at Immutably Me commented:
    posted July 22nd, 2006 at 8:43 am

    […] It’s not even worth mentioning how badly I did but if you think you know your games and who made them, you may want to take the Game Designer Trivia challenge. […]

  12. Chris McDougal commented:
    posted September 28th, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    I thought this game was interesting, the questions should be more mixed up. This works for a low level game designer game, but I want to see questions like Who Said This: “A bear, I guess I’ll take that as a compliment”.
    a) Devil May Cry
    b) Final Fantasy
    c) Super Mario Bros
    d) Katamari Damacy

    I was just getting bored of the same kind of questions (note: this is just a SUGESTION) the way the game worked was fun and obviously challenging (as I only batted a .620 or so)

  13. Ory Drunk (p0yo77) commented:
    posted January 4th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    it’s a cool game but you should make an expansion or something with more questions, by the way perfect answers.

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