Game Design General

Your Writing Style

Conversational Writing Kicks Formal Writing’s Ass is another insightful post on Creating Passionate Users that say that formal writing, as nice and professional as it is, is less effective at teaching than conversational writing is. Conversational writing does something to the brain that makes it act as if it is involved in an actual conversation and so forces the reader to pay attention much more than formal writing would. You just remember certain things easier this way.

I’ve mentioned before that I am always interested in learning how to write more effectively, and this post had some good points. Of course, besides writing better, I’m wondering how this principle might apply to game development. Specificially, how do I make games that you would respond to (notice I said you instead of “the gamer” or some other third person term)?

“You Win!” was always more exciting than “Player 1 Wins!” or “GIAN is the winner!”

In RPGs, it is common to meet NPCs that talk to your character. Even though the main character in Chrono Trigger never talked back, the conversation was more compelling because you really only controlled the main character when walking around. People were talking to YOU vicariously through the character, and it was all the more real when you used your real name in the game.

Is your game an educational title? Perhaps you should make the text in the game more conversational and appear to involve the player more. I don’t think it all needs to be second-person “you” and “your”, but you definitely don’t want anything to appear stuffy and formal.

Are the instructions for a game more understandable if you say, “If you wish to access the main menu, hit ESC” rather than “Hit ESC for main menu”?

What about marketing? Can your website become more conversational? Does it sound too much like a thesis? Would changing some sentences or whole sections make the game more memorable and therefore more likely to bring back a potential customer to make a purchase?

The post, like many on that blog, has given me some things to think about.