Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Rubberband Game Mechanics

One of the few reasons why Nintendo games are so immensely popular are because they understand how to make multiplayer games fun.

How? The rubber band mechanic.

So what is the rubber band mechanic? It is handicapping players based on how they are performing in relation to their peers. A simple example from racing games would be that the car behind is always faster than the ones in front it. An exaggerated example from Mario Kart would be that karts last in place always get the powerful items over those leading the race.

So why does this matter? Because it makes games close. Close means competitive. And close competition makes players feel like they have a chance to win. Basically, it makes games fun.

In my opinion, all social games, particularly the competitive ones, should use it in some form or manner. The key to using rubber band game mechanics without player's feeling like the game is cheating or not fair is to hide them behind a mechanic that is "supposed" to be random.

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