Menu Design Influencing Game Play (Seeker)

Meet Draw Something by OMGPOP.

This is a game that I am currently playing on my iPhone, and can be played on other platforms such as Android or on Facebook. The game allows you to challenge your friends by drawing a word while they attempt to guess. You can have multiple games going at a time, and each turn takes merely seconds. It is a fast paced, casual game… or so I thought. The reason for mentioning this game is because of the structure that is underlying. At first, it appears that playing consists of only drawing and guessing. Each time a drawing is guessed correctly, both players earn points determined by the difficulty of the word. With these points you are able to purchase more colors to add to your personal palette. It is this particular feature that intrigues me.

What is the purpose of the game?
–To obtain points.
–To obtain colors.
–To “play.”

I had been playing for a while and I noticed that I had a significant amount of points. After clicking around I discovered that while in game play (drawing) is where you choose to buy additional colors, not in the settings menu. This is an interesting design choice by the creator of the game. Playing this game and experiencing this specific style of menu interface made me aware of my interactions with the menu system, where I would normally just play without thinking.

As we have seen from the games played in class, some games have a distinct menu system while others place the player in the midst of the action and just “go.” This leads me to believe that it may be easier to pick up and go with games that have a menu that allows for start/stop/save/pause verses a game with predetermined checkpoints or a less clear structure. I will continue to consider the menu style of games as I play them, and I encourage you to do the same.

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