But when I come to think more on it, the biggest reason it has become that popular is Mr. Tajiri, the main developer and creator of Pokemon , didn t start this project with a business sense. In other words, he was not intending to make something that would become very popular. He just wanted to make something he wanted to play. There was no business sense included, only his love involved in the creation. Somehow, what he wanted to create for himself was appreciated by others in this country and is shared by people in other countries . . . . And that s the point: not to make something sell, something very popular, but to love something, and make something that we creators can love. It s the very core feeling we should have in making games .
” Shigeru Miyamoto, talking about the creation of Pokemon
It may seem too simple a question to even ask, but determining what players want out of a game is a question all game designers must contemplate if they want to make great games. Further complicating matters, understanding what is enjoyable about a game experience is not knowledge that can be taught; on some level it must be an innate sense that a designer possesses. Designers must have the ability to assess whether something is fun for themselves , combined with the ability to listen to the opinions of others. Frank Capra, one of the most popular film directors from the golden age of Hollywood, often said that he was simply making films that appealed to his own tastes, and that it was luck they were enjoyed by so many other people. Similarly, one cannot simply look at the problem of what players want purely from a market-driven standpoint and declare, I don t understand it, but if they want it, I m going to give it to them. In order to make a great game, you must first find it fun yourself, and hopefully this can be used to build something that appeals to others as well. But in the end, the spark must come from within.
Game designers spend a lot of time concerning themselves with what game players are looking for in a computer game. What can they put in their computer game that has not been done before and will excite players? Often game designers are so bereft of an idea of what will be fun and what gamers want that they instead only include gameplay ideas that have been tried before, rehashing what was popular with game players last year. Surely if players liked it last year, they will like it this year. But therein lies the rub. Gamers generally do not want to buy a game that is only a clone of another game, a new game that only offers old ideas and brings nothing original to the table. Nonetheless, successful games can be useful, not for cloning, but for analysis. As game designers, we can look at the games that have come out previously, that we have enjoyed in years past, and try to determine a set of directives that explain what compelled us to try those games in the first place, and why they held our interest once we started playing them.