Idea #3 - Too Many Cooks
This idea started out not as a game, but more of an idea for an experiment about games that I’ve been kicking around for a while. To state it simply, the idea is a game that consists of designing a game. The name derives from the proverb “too many cooks spoil the broth”, which certainly suggests my skepticism at the quality of the end product, though I can certainly imagine the process being quite fun!
The first seeds of this idea were planted long ago and have only continued to grow and flourish as I’ve accumulated experience making games, and especially reading their related forums. The thing is, people often don’t really know what they actually want. The features and changes that players will rally behind, while frequently seeming like a good idea at first glance, would actually not address the underlying problem. This is a place that I think one of the most key skills of a good designer comes into play: sifting through all the noise to find the ultimate root of an issue and address it there. But that is not what this game is about, it is about putting that all aside and seeing what happens. It is about building “The Homer”.
To really fully realize this would require a team of developers ready to implement the design, but it could certainly also be reduced to in scope to operate within a set of restraints, such as the capabilities of a fancy level editor. Technical complexity aside though, it is a rather simple game, consisting of a series of votes starting broadly (e.g. genre, setting, perhaps even platform) and eventually narrowing down to very specific proposals (e.g. reduce the damage of the rocket launcher by 5 points). In this way the game could probably considered a specialization of Nomic, starting out with a more explicit goal and tailoring the rules such that this goal could never be subverted. After the initial few votes establishing the broadest parameters, most of the votes would be driven by player proposals, so the game would need to furnish some sort of discussion forum, as well as a way for the players to try out each iteration.
So, there you have it. What started out as a an idea for an experiment to prove a cynical point becomes a game which, as I’m writing this and thinking about, I actually want to play now.