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From ColecoVision To iPhone Games: Some High Water Marks In Video Game Design History Part 6

In this sixth part of the series we will take a look at Bethesda Software's multi-platform game Morrowind and examine some more of those classic moments where video game designers undoubtedly got it right and delivered a memorable, enduring and progressive gaming experience.

In this ongoing look at significant moments in the history of video game design, we have already taken a look at Bungies Halo, Biowares MDK2, the original Half-Life on PC and several others.The goal of this series is to go beyond gaming magazines and iPhone app reviews, and take a closer look at what defines memorability and quality in game design.In this sixth part of the series we will examine some more of those classic moments where video game designers undoubtedly got it right and delivered a memorable, enduring and progressive gaming experience.The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Multi-Platform) Released in 2002 and developed by Bethesda Software, the role-playing-game (RPG) Morrowind was certainly not without its faults.The games incredibly large world and open ended gameplay sometimes demonstrated the concept of a games reach exceeding its grasp.Quests could be broken, save files could be corrupted and frustration was as much a part of the game as exploration.Why then, is this game worthy of inclusion in this series? Because of its incredible and unflinching ambition.Although PC players had seen game worlds bigger than Morrowind in the past Bethesdas own previous entry in the Elder Scrolls series, Daggerfall boasted a larger map when it launched on the Xbox, console players were astounded at the games scope.One could literally spend an entire day wandering the games overworld, meeting characters, getting into real-time battles, treasure hunting and adventuring, without ever completing a quest or making any actual progress in the games storyline.This type of flexibility to quest and explore as one wished was particularly jolting to fans of Japanese RPGs, as they had become accustomed to RPGs being played more rigidly, with enemy encounters being random and turn based.In singling out a particular component of Morrowind for its game design quality, it is the games freedom that will be focused on.It is difficult to overestimate the shock that console gamers felt when they realized they could literally go anywhere, do anything, kill anyone (except characters crucial to the storyline), steal anything, break into any building and simply play the game on their terms, rather than merely journeying along a pre-determined path.The game begins in an underground sewer setting, but after a bit of exploration the gamer emerges into the daylight and is greeted with a massive world with little guidance as to what their next move should be.Some felt overwhelmed by this freedom, but those who stuck with the adventure quickly saw that there was a method to this seeming madness.Unlike most games before it, exploration in Morrowind was rewarded with exotic treasures and hidden adventures, rather than invisible boundaries or impassable obstacles.The games incredibly large selection of characters all had a story to tell and gamers who took the time to read these lengthy passages were rewarded with one of the richest gameplay experiences video games have to offer.Every single facet of Morrowind is absolutely epic in scope and truly must be played to be understood.Ultimately, it was Bethesdas refusal to dumb down their game for the console market coupled with their unflinching courage in delivering a game that had a legitimate chance of intimidating the gamers who had quite literally never seen a game like Morrowind, that cemented it as a game of the year candidate and a mainstay example of high-quality game design.While not a perfect game by any means, Morrowind still wonderfully demonstrates impressively progressive design elements and fearless ambition.It raised our expectations of RPG gaming on consoles, showed that incredibly large game worlds were not only possible, but feasibleBusiness Management ArticlesArticle Search, and set the tone for what would become a record of ongoing consistency and quality from Bethesda Software.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Tim Kennedy writes on behalf of AppsPatrol. He recommends you visit AppsPatrol for your iphone apps and iphone game reviews.



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