Game development and the seven deadly sins

Sin and game development seems like a punch line, but there may be more wisdom in the seven deadly sins than we think.  The History Channel has been airing a terribly addicting series on the Seven Deadly Sins and their history throughout the world.  At the end of every episode, the conclusion is pretty much the same:  the sins or temptations aren’t going away, and for those who overindulge, it could be a literal hell on earth (they really like that turn of phrase).  The series got me thinking on how these sins have an impact on game design.

First of all, what are the seven deadly sins?

  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Sloth
  5. Anger
  6. Envy
  7. Pride

Game design and writing have been guilty of all of these sins at one point.  Too much text?  Gluttony.  Loot-based game?  Greed.  But are all these sins bad for game development, or do game developers instead need to pay special attention to them when designing?

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be exploring these sins and how they have an impact on game development.  Now don’t be alarmed — we’re not going to point fingers and scream “Blasphemer!” at any developer.  We’ll leave that to you 😉 Instead, we’ll explore how these sins negatively or positively impact game design and writing.

Which sin do you think is the deadliest sin to avoid if you want to make a good game?  Which sin do you think could actually improve a game?

This post brought to you by Writers Cabal, a game writing and design partnership.

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Published in: on January 6, 2009 at 3:46 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. Most developers want to make their game ‘addictive’, that quite a sin in itself. So I think it is very important in game design. Since game is a way to fulfilled player deep desire, and most of the time those desires are quite ‘dark’.

    Give an example of MMORPG, it require player to desire for more to success in the game.

    Level up = Gluttony
    More Loots = Greed
    Other player has prettier dress than you = Envy
    Monster Killing, PVP = Wrath (it’s not called ‘Anger’, if i remembered correctly)
    Player Ranks & Guild System = Pride
    PC & NPC that’s looks too good and too sexy to be in the real world = Lust
    Bot = Sloth

    As you can see, most of the ‘sins’ are required to make players enjoy the game. The only counter to the game success is Sloth, that make the game unchallenged and ruin the game to the whole community and to the developers.

    (Sorry for my bad english)

  2. Hummm…. it seems that, because games are intended as recreation, you want to have as many of the sins as possible available to the player. They are there to indulge themselves, right? To live out fantasies of power, importance, conquest, and wealth. The big 7 are exactly what they are looking for…

    On the other hand, to commit them as a developer or writer is evil personified!

    From a writer’s point of view, I would say:
    Lust: Wanting to write for a particular title so you can have your name on the box, not because your skills and experience are best suited.
    Gluttony: Buying and playing every great game that comes out, regardless of what that may do to your personal life!
    Greed: Saying ‘yes’ to every project that comes along 🙂
    Sloth: Not doing enough to differentiate the characters through their dialogue. Men sound like women, peasants sound like knights, generals sound like sergeants.
    Anger: Being offended when someone from another discipline gives recommendations or comments on what you have done. How dare they! I am the artiste!
    Envy: What I get when I compare BioWare’s writing budgets to mine…
    Pride: Writing too much because you think your prose is so wonderful. This translates into loooong cutscenes, overwrought dialogues, and… ‘Esc’ key.


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