95: Mid-Level Exceptions

"I found some interesting similarities between all these games. They are, by genre and platform, very different games. The traits most commonly assigned to videogames - genre, platform, marketing clout - vary widely within the list, so clearly the answer cannot be found within conventional boundaries. God of War was a very recent console-based big-budget, high-tech, hyper-violent, heavily-marketed hit. Championship Manager is a strategic soccer simulation series in which the player acts as club manager. There's virtually nothing in the way of graphics or sound, and the games are not well-known in the U.S. - quite the opposite of God of War.
"So what, then, is the commonality making these games similarly great? These games are all missing a chunk of the story!"
Rowan Kaiser examines the concept of missing middle narrative, and why sometimes designing a game with less makes for a more compelling experience.

Mid-Level Exceptions

Loved the article--captured exactly what's a big part of what makes _Civilization_ and some soccer management simulation game I used to have back in '99 so replayable: seeing how things unfold from the early game to the mid-game, and then how the rest of the game is 'channeled' by the way things unfolded. Other games this reminded me of are _Master of Orion_ (every game the ships were different), the _Railroad Tycoon_ series (every game the rail net/industry distribution is different), and the _Europa Universalis_ series (every game each county winds up with different provinces by the end/the composition of the armies is different).

In fact, to take it back to board games, reminded me of what I loved about the old Avalon Hill 'monster' games like _Empires In Arms_ and _Siege of Jerusalem_. Also brings to mind an old GDW title, _Bloodtree Rebellion_. Really wish those would just be ported over to the computer by Hasbro for Avalon Hill, and whoever owns the rights to the other developers' titles.


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