Impression from GC

EA Coocoon again at GC 2008

So, I was at GC 2008 for a day. It was nice seeing EA Cocoon stand being resurrected again. I think we did a good job designing it after all. I just wished I could claim more authorship in designing it. I was in the project but we were separated into different teams and my team’s design didn’t make the final cut.

I just wanted to get out some brief observations:

  • I’ve played Braid very briefly. It was alone in some corner. Can’t comment much on the puzzles as it was VERY brief but the game is a quote was obvious Super Mario quote, even to my uninitiated companions. The animations seemed nice and the controls felt very comfortable. Looks like a solid game but I won’t buy an XBox because of it, sorry Microsoft your games portfolio still just isn’t diverse enough. No amount of coverflow will fix that.
  • While we’re at it: WHY was Braid in a corner. And WHY is there no Indie Games Panel at GC? Maybe somebody should propose something like that for GamesCom?
  • Maybe I missed something big but after that EDGE Special, playing Fracture felt like an EPIC disappointment. Wow, hight maps! That was a cool technology but back in 1994. And back then they were at least original, instead of just cloning Halo.
  • Little Big Planet is cool. At least the jump & run part feels nice, especially playing cooperatively. It looks simply jaw-dropping. However, I have big concerns about the interface. So far no complex task then painting with stickers has been demonstrated (and that was buggy enough). The first problem will be to develop a flexible and precise interface for editing levels. The second will be to actually browse through the sea of user-generated content that should appear release. Both tasks are very difficult and the success of the game will depend on how well they will be solved.
  • Spore looked very good. I didn’t play it but I watched in awe as some player went with his creature over a hill to discover a herd of procedurally generated giant floating pink balloons with penis-like noses emerging from the fog. This episode was at least the kind experience we were promised. I making a note here: huge success!
  • I actually played a bit Space Invaders Extreme and I liked it. Might buy.
  • There was a discussion if the iPhone will be a gaming device. I think: it will be “The Gaming King of Mobile Phones” because it does feature cool hardware and is a very stable, popular platform among the myriad of different Cell Phone types. However, I doubt it’s popularity as a gaming device will match an actual console like the DS or even the PSP. It is too expensive to be bought just for games and its usual clientèle is not interested in more demanding games then another Tetris clone. Also, it’s hardware seems too alien to allow easy ports from other consoles. So we will see a plethoria of “Casual Games” like Bejewled but I think that’s all the iPhone will do.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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