I've been thinking a lot about contribution lately. Specifically, how it can be applied to games in a meaningful , but limited way.
A couple years ago I created a small Halloween themed game called Candy Quota. The central focus of the game was to create a passively multiplayer game where every player could contribute to a common goal for one month out of the year. The goal was for all players to collectively gather candy and use it to feed a machine that would raise a ladder to an otherwise unreachable area in the game.
Even though I designed the goal (and loop) to be quite flat, I hoped that the exploration and interactions inside of the game would be enough to add value to the player experience. I designed a little platforming world with various machines and mini-games that could be used to earn more candy. But, ultimately - the gameplay loop was very simple and none of the machines really had a rewarding challenge or risk to them. My hope was that experience would be greater than the sum of its part.
Around the same time, another Halloween themed game released with a similar time limitation - being only available during the month of October. This was Adam Gryu's Ghost Town Pumpkin Festival. This game had much less to do in the world, but the killer feature was that players could carve pumpkins and place them around the environment. This creativity allowed for a greater bond between the player and the game. I imagine each player derived much more value because of the extent of their contribution and how it changed the world around them. It's really quite perfectly designed in that way.
It's been a great touch point for me as I learn, and I hope to implement some more personal and engaging elements into Candy Quota as I continue work on the project.Logged on September, 15th 2023