There was an error with the form on my contact page that was caused by some strangeness originating at my IP. I've fixed the problem and you are once again free to send me messages via the contact page (at least until they decide to pull that stunt again). If there's any further problems, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in any of the blog messages here. Thanks.
This week's cartoon is about playing with someone who may have a different agenda
than your own.
I'm a big fan of games that encourage players to work together towards a common goal. Of course that breaks down when one or more of the players lose interest in that goal and start looking for mischief to do in the game. This invaribly leads to fights and hard feelings. The real loser is the game, as the players never want to revisit the site of such misery.
But ultimately it's the game's fault for not making the goal interesting enough to hold the player's attention and keeping their focus on it instead of allowing them to be distracted. Fixing this is (obviously) easier said than done, but it boils down to gold old story telling techniques. Grab the veiwer's attentions, keep the suspense going and they'll want to see it through.
The next trick is keeping the effort consistent with the reward - we don't want to make this too
easy, do we? More on that later.
When it comes to fun and games, sometimes you can't beat a classic
. When I was younger, I used to play a game called Dragon's Lair. Back then, Dragon's Lair was a radical idea beacuse while most games featured brightly colored dots, Dragon's Lair had full animation from the Don Bluth Studios:
The way they managed it was that all of the game's scenes were rendered in traditional animation and then stored on a huge laser disk. Then, depending on the user's input, an appropriate scene was accessed and displayed. Gameplay was very limited in Dragon's Lair - your only options were up, down, left, right and pressing a button to use a sword. And input was only required at a brief moment in each scene to determine whether or not the hero grabbed a rope or fell to a grisly death.
But for all of this, the game continues to be a challenge - not because of our desire to see the next scene, but because we know that if we get the timing just right we can manage to beat the game and get Dirk the Daring through the dungeon and reunite him with Princess Daphne.
Whoops! Late again. Where does the time go? At least the cartoon
was posted on time.
Speaking of cartoons, every so often, I get a letter like this:I think cartoons are cool. Could you send me something? Thanks!
Sometimes they embelish it, saying that they need it for a homework assignment (yes, like I'd be happy to finish a complete stranger's homework for them) or some attempt to get the most free stuff from anonymous sources. But where is the incentive for me? Here's a better example:Dear Kyle,Last Monday's cartoon was a hoot! Could you tell me how a faithful fan like myself could improve your financial situation? Do you have a book I might buy or will you just accept paypal contributions on your website?
Notice how they took the time to learn my name? And notice the use of (reasonable) financial rewards to lure a response out of me? (BTW, the answer to both of the questions in the above example is yes! They make great gifts!)
Hey, it's not like I'm a mercenary here, but honestly, just because I draw things doesn't mean I've got the bandwidth to drop everything and send a bunch a stuff out to every mass mailing I get. On the other hand, questions that will help expand the reach of my cartoon empire will most likely get a swift and courteous response.
And knowing is half the battle.
Nope, I haven't had a chance to play the very popular Oblivion
yet. Mainly because I haven't had the chance to really sit back and just play a game for the simple fun of playing a game. Real life takes a bite out of our free time. But that is going to change, for a few days anyway, as I take a break after completing work on the Family Guy
video game. I've got so many things I want to do that I don't know what I'll do first. Ah, decisions, decisions. Got a week to kill in Chicago. What do you suggest?