Here’s what I’d like to see more of:
- Affordance is important and should be treated with the utmost respect. Or in other words: If something looks and feels like it can be done, it should be possible. This rules out invisible walls, mechanic cheats such as making enemies invincible due to narrative reasons, environmental mechanics that only affect the player but don’t affect anybody/anything else, etc.
- Multiple intersecting mechanics. I think this is the source of almost all unexpected and wonderful interactions that can be possible while playing a game, Spelunky being one game that excels at this (shopkeeper interaction especially) as well as my favorite moment in a game. Unexpected interaction that follows a restricted possibility space and is completely rational in hindsight is the best type of interaction. It is one of the few sources of mechanical comedy that videogames have (though extremely difficult to pull off since timing or rythm is also required for comedy).
- The player’s time is precious. If a design choice makes it so that the player must spend time in an undesirable activity in order to reach a desireable one then something’s wrong with the game. Punishment in the form of lost time must be treated as the worst type of punishment possible.
- All input must correlate to a semantic meaning. Never, ever have a button that does two or more completely different things depending on surrounding context or how the player presses the button or what part of the UI the player is on*.
- A low skill requirement but a sea of possibilities when the player is skilled enough. Previously plain rooms are in fact loaded with stuff to do and explore and this content/interaction is not gated artificially by locks and keys but readily available to whoever has the knowhow or the curiosity. Avoid situations that result obtuse in hindsight once the player has discovered the secret/s.
- Just … hidden stuff. If there is one thing that I think I’ll never get tired of is finding secret rooms/items/interactions. They spark curiosity and they trigger (at least for me) a sense of wonder if done correctly. Finding ammo behind a staircase is neat but finding a whole optional section with a corresponding reward is awesome.
- Cheats. Yeah, just cheats. Cheats are awesome. What happenned to those?