GameCareerGuide, which hosts a weekly Game Design Challenge, recently named the top solutions to this design problem
: design a card game around the theme of insomnia. The challenges let aspiring game developers (and sometimes the pros, too) dabble in issues of game design in a creative and educational way.
About half the submissions the Game Design Challenge: Insomnia gave their game concept the title "Counting Sheep." A few of those games stood out from the pack, despite the inauthentic name.
Game designer Manveer Heir, of Raven Software, and staff of GameCareerGuide.com run the challenges and try to shed light each week on what real-life game design issues and lessons are to be found in each hypothetical challenge. For instance, for the insomnia-themed card game challenge, Heir writes: "Representing a fundamental idea or theme through mechanics is a great way to strength game design with the aesthetic of the game. Combining aesthetics and design can make the game feel more meaningful or genuine, and more importantly more cohesive. This is one of the reasons a game like BioShock
works so well."
The top-named entry came from Ned Elwell whose game has a winner when a player can play a two-eyed face card (representing a "face" or "head" of a body), a heart card (for the body's middle section), and two pairs (representing two arms and two legs)--the completed "body" is said to have gotten into bed and can now rest.
Other noted entries came from Murray Chu, an aspiring game producer whose game relies on sorting and organizing, and professional game designer at Playlogic Game Factory Tj'ièn Twijnstra, who wrote a convincing argument for incorporating "opposites" and "mystery" or luck as gameplay elements to represent insomnia.
Two honorable mentions were also named: software engineer Crimson Starfire, who created a family-friendly game, and Rick Kolesar who created a multi-player game and provided rules for a drinking game variation.
All the named entries and complete instructions for how to play
them are now featured on GameCareerGuide.com.
Additionally, the web site has extended the deadline to its most recent challenge, which asks aspiring game creators to remove the introductory cinematic from the game Stubbs the Zombie
and instead convey that information to the player through gameplay in the first level of the game
(storyboarding is encouraged!). The deadline to enter that challenge is December 10, and professional game developers are welcomed to participate.