Quick Post: Make Everything Interesting

Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates!

Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates!

If you’ve  never played Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates, you’re missing out. I have a lot of praise for what is ultimately a very simple game with a great execution. It has a lot of individual elements that are very smart, but what really sold it to me was how the game tries to make everything interesting.

Puzzle Pirates is a series of puzzles strung together on the pirate theme inside of an MMO framework. You create a character, and dress them and you can buy a ship and have a shop and a number of other things you can do. But there’s very little produced for free; players are encouraged to make items and sell them, including clothing and ships. In many games, this would be boring, tedious work, but Puzzle Pirates was clever enough to make crafting items in to a puzzle — like everything else in the game, if you want something done, you have to play for it.

Seriously; dying fabric, shipwrighting, sword fighting, bilging — even making rum. All of these things are represented in the game as puzzles. And that’s pretty awesome.

It’s a lesson more games could learn. The end result in Puzzle Pirates from their design is that some people perfer one type of puzzle over others and make a career of that puzzle in game. Players can earn success by specializing in one kind of game without having to worry about the others — particularly since manning a ship requires multiple players to man different stations to do well; it doesn’t matter if your whole crew are excellent sword fighters, you’re going to need a bilger at some point.

Giving players these options, in both competitive and non competitive venues makes the resulting game much more enjoyable for a wider audience of people. And it makes the environment just a little more realistic — it’s an MMO where you don’t have to go out and kill a half million wild boar to advance anywhere.


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