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Lego Star Wars producer unlocks secret of gaming success


Gamespot had a chat with Lego Star Wars producer Jonathan Smith and learned nothing about the upcoming Lego titles, except that they are working on more. What Gamespot did learn was something far more precious: How to ultimately design and test games.

One of the more interesting things Smith talks about is that game developers should create games and test them on 8-year-old-boys. Smith says, "They like moving forward in a game. They like funny things happening in a game when they press buttons. They love, more than you can possibly believe, cheats. ... They dislike waiting for anything, and the universal phrase is that if something is too difficult, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's too challenging, it means that they don't understand what they're being asked to do ... the game designer is asking something from them, but they're not asking the kids clearly enough and not giving appropriate feedback to their attempts to overcome the challenge. It's rarely a skill difficulty."

We tip our hat to Mr. Smith. He's absolutely right. The clarity and genius of that statement is incredible. Do the sales of Lego Star Wars prove Smith knows thirty-something-year-old video game players are the same as 8-year-olds? The only real difference being puberty, a driver's license, bank account and the ability not to ask mom if they can get an M rated title -- well, most of them anyway.

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