I again was honored to help judge the Gotland Game Awards a couple of days back, and in many ways it was a return to core values. The event itself was more about the students than last year, with almost no projects coming from other places than the GAME educations, and the games in general seemed to focus more on interesting gameplay mechanics and only added innovative input mechanics if it seemed like a good idea, instead of the other way around. The event itself was grander, but it still felt more focused and of higher-quality – I give both the students and the teachers and administration credit for this. The only real beef I do have with it was with some of the teams claiming to want a “pure experience” by avoiding powerups or progression in their gameplay – if you intentionally make your game less interesting, you’d better have something incredibly interesting to begin with.
Also, on an unrelated note, it seems David Eddings passed away. It was long ago now that I quit reading his books, long ago when the lack of challenging stories and annoyingly smug presentation became too much for it to be worthwhile. Still, I read the entire Belgariad and the Malloreon some 6 or 7 times each in my youth and I can’t deny the attraction they held for me then or the possible effects that might have had on my development as a person. People have claimed he made fantasy accessible to the world, and that is a worthy achievement indeed.