A personal game history timeline of Keith Nagy for Game History at Full Sail University
Created by KeithNagy on Mar 5, 2011
Last updated: 03/05/11 at 06:40 PM
Tags: Keith Nagy Personal Game History Zelda Contra Monopoly Risk Duck Hunt
Question 1: Why was this game important to you? Risk was a game some of my friends from elementary school were playing and they introduced me to it in 6th grade. We were kids and war was "cool" and our parents did not object because at least we were not "rotting our brains out in front of the TV." I remember being entranced by how overwhelming it seemed at first and how the more I played it, the more real strategy and tactical maneuvers I employed in my pursuit of power and victory. Risk is certainly a game where mastery allows you to completely decimate unsuspecting opponents and that was very important to me at the time I began playing the game. Question 2: From a Designer’s Perspective, what skills was the game trying to teach? And how did the game try to teach these skills? Risk demands that players learn and utilize strategic skills that focus primarily on territory. Knowing how each different territory relates spatially to the ones near it and how they are affected by what happens to it are key to victory in Risk. Recognizing which territories are choke points that will provide the best defense for the ones adjacent to them is a crucial skill. Essentially, knowing the capabilities and limitations of the territories allows you to protect yours while exploiting those of your enemies and enables you to divide and conquer. Resource management goes hand in hand with territory in Risk. If you have territories, you need resources (military units) on them. Knowing the nature of each territory as described above is crucial to how you distribute your resources across the territories. Mastering the utilization of resource management is how players overwhelm their opposition and use territories to the full extent.
Question 1: Why was this game important to you? Monopoly was rather important to me growing up because I have always had fun with games that support a large number of players. Monopoly allowed up to eight people to play in one sitting, so there is a lot going on and the interactions between all the people are what make the game so fun. There are few things more satisfying than witnessing the crushing defeat of an opponent when he lands on a property on which you have purchased a hotel. There are also few games that offer a more enticing incentive to stay in jail to avoid paying property bills. Question 2: From a Designer’s Perspective, what skills was the game trying to teach? And how did the game try to teach these skills? One main skill that Monopoly focuses on is the idea of resource management. Players start out with a set amount of money and almost every roll of the dice affects that either directly or indirectly. It is up to the player to determine the most efficient way to spend or ration their monetary assets, whether that is passing up on purchasing an expensive property, spending money on property upgrades, or simply saving up for a rough patch of property bills coming up on the next roll. Wise investment and foresight are just as key as the blind luck of not landing on opponents' property. The game also teaches a lot of basic mathematical skills since it deals with money and investment as well as taxes. The player will sometimes need to determine whether it is cheaper to pay the set income tax price or the 10% alternative. Another indirect skill the game teaches mathematically is more of an observational skill. Statistics are not something the player has any direct control over, yet anyone who has ever played Monopoly has certainly had statistics on their mind with virtually every single turn. The first thing on players' minds before each roll is the likelihood that the dice will get them where they want to go. Literally every turn involves a silent, often subconscious, evaluation of the statistical chance of the occurrence of a particular event. Another skill is a rather obvious one, spatial relationships. More specifically, territory recognition is the skill exhibited in Monopoly whenever you look at the properties and other areas upon which it is possible to land. The player recognizes which properties he would like to land on, which properties are already owned and should be avoided, and safe areas like Free Parking and Go.
Question 1: Why was this game important to you? For whatever reason, I never really played Duck Hunt when I first got my NES. Probably because The Legend of Zelda was in a gold cartridge and that obviously meant it was going to be a better game if you were a kid. Once I started playing Duck Hunt, however, its simple yet endearing mechanics made it an instant classic. It was just too fun shooting ducks out of the air, or trying to shoot the dog when he laughed at me. I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was that it was something I could never do in real life. I am a complete pacifist when it comes to killing animals for sport. Duck Hunt allowed me to take the inherent fun of such an activity and remove the actual violence to any cuddly animals. Question 2: From a Designer’s Perspective, what skills was the game trying to teach? And how did the game try to teach these skills? Duck Hunt is primarily concerned with the skill of precision. The player must be precise with the gun peripheral in order to actually shoot the ducks. As the game progresses the player is required to be more precise given that more ducks appear on screen at once and missing shots will cost dearly. Timing is another skill necessary in Duck Hunt that ties in with precision. The reason you have to be precise and accurate is because you have limited time to hit all of the ducks before they fly away. As more ducks appear on the screen, you have less time to hit each one within the time limit. There also happens to be some focus on spatial relationships. The screen is essentially the player's territory and the ducks do not belong. The ducks have a limited time to get out of the player's territory and the player must precisely shoot them before they reach safe territory, which is anywhere off-screen. If there was no focus on territory, the ducks would be doomed to fly around on the screen until the player eventually took them all down, thus eliminating any challenge and resulting in a very low value of fun.
Question 1: Why was this game important to you? Contra was a very important game to me as a child because it captured the absolute adrenaline rush of being in a situation where survival required complete focus and incredible precision. The game was fun because of the grand sense of accomplishment that accompanied each successful encounter, of which there were many. Factor in the addition of two player cooperative functionality, and players could enhance the experience by playing side by side with a friend. That was important to me because my friends could be a part of the action at the same time rather than sitting around waiting for their turn. Question 2: From a Designer’s Perspective, what skills was the game trying to teach? And how did the game try to teach these skills? The main skill that Contra attempted to teach the player was certainly precision. Precision was required to hit your targets quickly to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Simply firing chaotically would not get the player too far for long. Precision was also necessary for evading enemies. This was a combination of the skills precision, timing, and avoidance. In order to evade an enemy that may have broken through the player's defenses, it was necessary to precisely jump to a safe area at a very specific time to avoid being hit by the enemy. The entire game focused on these particular skills required for survival in the hectic battles. Another skill, which was only seen if played cooperatively, was teamwork. The fundamental idea that work is easier and even more fun when distributed between more than one person. Contra allowed two players to work together using teamwork to overcome situations with greater ease and a higher chance of survival than if attempted by one person. This concept has been, in some capacity, a core design in almost every type of activity ever performed.
Question 1: Why was this game important to you? The Legend of Zelda was the first truly memorable experience I ever had with a video game. The unique fantasy world of Hyrule was incredibly large and complex and there was a sense of freedom in the game from the very beginning. There were few limitations to where you could go and when you could go there that made it the first "open-world" title I had ever played. I spent countless hours learning which dungeons contained which secret items and which dungeons could only be accessed once a particular item had been obtained. The sense of freedom coupled with the sense of progress and feeling of accomplishment once a pattern had been discovered and mastered are what made this game so important to me as the player. Question 2: From a Designer’s Perspective, what skills was the game trying to teach? And how did the game try to teach these skills? One of the primary skills The Legend of Zelda teaches is the skill of exploration. This skill is absolutely required to progress through the game. The player must explore different areas of the world to find more powerful weapons, items necessary to access new locations, hidden areas that hold items that make the journey more feasible. If exploration was not a skill incorporated in this game, the player would be stuck on the first screen without even a weapon in hand. Another skill that is complementary to exploration in this game is that of spatial relationships. The player has access to maps throughout the entirety of The Legend of Zelda that designate spatial relationships by way of territory with gridlines. The map of Hyrule is a large grid where each rectangle represents a different screen seen in the game. The player cannot traverse to another area of the map without crossing over an invisible territorial gridline that changes the game screen with a scrolling transition. Distinct boundaries and territories also exist within the map. For example, when the player enters a dungeon, a new map appears rather than the world map. Each dungeon has its own specific territory and spatial relationships, most of which require the aforementioned skill of exploration to find a compass to reveal locations of enemies. The game also teaches players to test the boundaries and territories by blowing up unstable walls to reveal hidden areas that exist outside the dimensions set forth by the maps.