Darkest Dungeon, from Red Hook Studios

Addictive. Which surprises me, since I spend most of my time failing at individual missions, struggling desperately to keep my adventurers from succumbing to madness. And yet I keep coming back for more.

Three things I learned about game design:

  • Art and sound design go a long way to selling the game. The mechanics of the thing can be familiar, while the art and the sound (that narrator!) really immerse the player in the world.
  • Failure can be fun, so long as the player can anticipate it, and recover from it. With those two pieces, failing becomes a continuation of the play experience, not a detriment.
  • Don’t be dismissive of old game forms. Even the venerable dungeon crawl has some life left in it, yet.