October 6th 2003

Winners of the Game & Watch Design Contest

Between July 1st and September 30th 2003, I held my second contest, which was called the Game & Watch Design Contest. Participants could win many nice prizes, such as an e-Reader, Pokémon-e theme decks, and more. In terms of participation, I'd say it was much more successful than my previous contest, as the listings below indicate. :-)

First, allow me to present the winners of the contest:

FIRST PLACE: Car vs. Tanks, by Ronald C.

SECOND PLACE: Spaceman Sentry, by Heath Walajtys (a.k.a. TheJerkle)

THIRD PLACE: Fly Away!, by Jonathan Breeden

Here are the rest of the entries, in their chronological order of submission:

Rock and Roll, by Daniel Chan (a.k.a. Shadow9689)

Planet Saver, by Samson Felshman (a.k.a. Sam11111)

Zap 'em, by Jonathan Breeden

Crook's Craziness, by Ronald C.

The Death Tomb, by John A. Holcomb (a.k.a. Karkashan)

Clumsy Waiter, by Darrin Thompson (a.k.a. mr_flub)

Beat the Beat!, by Jonathan Breeden

Bungalow's Knifedodging Madness, by Jean-Philippe Larivière

A few closing comments

I'd like to use this opportunity to thank all the participants for their efforts, and for helping to make this contest a success!

Now there's something I really need to get off my chest, and if you're reading this right now and you happen to be one of the participants, please don't take this the wrong way, because it's not meant to take anything away from the effort you put into your work: I found most of the entries to be, well, underwhelming.

The graphic layouts are very good in most cases, and some participants put a lot of effort in describing the background story of their games, but I guess I expected people to look at existing Game & Watch games (especially the classic ones made by Nintendo), figure out what makes these classics so good, and use this knowledge for their own creations.

As I received more and more entries, it seemed to me that instead of thinking "Okay, these are the submissions so far, how can I do better?", people thought "Okay, these are the submissions so far, I'll just do something different, yet similar."

There was certainly a lot of variety, but I guess what I'm trying to say is this: Did the participants really stop to think whether their games would hold a player's interest for more than a couple of minutes? I've played a lot of LCD and table-top games, and they had a way of drawing players in. It takes more than just a good idea to make a good Game & Watch. The design needs to be optimized to achieve maximum enjoyment.

I guess I'm just a perfectionnist... :-)