This past spring I had a lot of fun playing through Masahiro Sakurai's works and picking apart the elements of his design approach. It was certainly a highlight of the year. I figured why not do it again next year with another prominent game director? I already have a few devs that I'm thinking about: … Continue reading 4 Game Devs I’m Considering for a new Analysis Series
In his beginning years, Sakurai made it a point to learn game design by playing games. Each game was a textbook of mechanics filled with ideas to analyze. Since then Sakurai has taken a unique position in the games industry where he can observe gaming as a whole, sample and borrow mechanics, and make them … Continue reading Sakurai, Part 5: The Kirby of Game Developers
Overwatch, Anthem, Destiny, Fortnite, Call of Duty... In the short time I've been back into gaming, I've seen several publishers push their games into being subscriptions, trying to get their players to keep paying for content for extended periods of time, whether that's a schedule of DLCs, events, updates, season passes, or lootboxes. One of … Continue reading Sakurai, Part 4: Designing Immortal Games
Eight games in one! That was the tagline for Kirby Super Star, Sakurai's third game, and the first one to include smaller games with widely different styles. This has become a staple of his design philosophy ever since. Opening up a game and seeing a sprawling menu has become his calling card. Sakurai flirted around … Continue reading Sakurai, Part 3: Designing Games with Variety
Let's imagine video games as theme park rides. Many of the intense ones have a height requirement in order to protect young kids from getting hurt. In a similar fashion, most video games, in order to get much enjoyment out of them, have a "height requirement" in skill. It's true that many games teach you … Continue reading Sakurai, Part 2: Designing Complex Games
As we begin diving into Sakurai's works, our first point of discussion is perhaps what he's best known for: games that anyone can easily learn and enjoy. Sakurai labeled this design philosophy as Kirbyism. His flagship series, Kirby and Super Smash Bros., are superb entry-level games not just for their respective genres, but for anyone … Continue reading Sakurai, Part 1: Designing Accessible Games
Shoutout to my wife for making this watercolor! For those who don't get the reference, Sakura are cherry blossoms, related to the name Sakurai. And Hanami is the time of year you can see the cherry blossoms (around this time of year), so I changed it to Hanakirby. My friend has a podcast called CineMusts … Continue reading Masahiro Sakurai: The Man Behind Smash Bros.