There's a fun and interesting little article over at the Escapist by Wendy Despain, on what she's learned about game design thanks to the opinions of her youngest nephews. Her conclusions after presenting some munchkins with games like Star Wars: Battlefront and Jak and Daxter? Game designers could probably learn something from the bitter disappointments of toddlers when faced with game mechanics and features that most of us just take for granted as, well, what games do:
I've been to a lot of conference sessions talking about how to make games better than they are. I've read a lot of books about it and seen even more books on Amazon about it. The game industry likes to talk about this subject - a lot. And who knows? I may not have been able to identify what was annoying my little friends about these games if I hadn't been studying the subject myself.
But I just can't shake the feeling that all us game developers would learn these lessons better if we just sat down and played like a 3-year-old for a while. Even if we're making games for grown-ups. As we get older we get jaded. We expect to be disappointed. We aren't surprised by inadequacy and sloppy work. We tolerate mediocrity and even find comfort in the mistakes that have become tradition through repetition.
It's an interesting perspective on some of the game design issues that have sparked much discussion in the industry.
Play Like a 3-Year-Old [Escapist Magazine]