BY ROBIN GALE: I was speaking to an Italian friend of mine recently, who was contrasting how differently Italians and British people approach food. She was lamenting her (British) boyfriend getting two scoops of gelato; one chocolate and one lemon. “My mum and I both agreed” she sighed, “an Italian would never mix those two flavours. Why would you? You end up ruining two great tastes, keeping things simple is always better”. When it comes to Italian food she is, of course, correct – classics such as the margarita or spaghetti carbonara work because they use a few ingredients very well.
I have started to suspect that the Italian food-rule might also be true for gaming. So many times, I have been enjoying a game only for it to inexplicably change character or even genre, nearly always hampering and distracting my experience. Other times, I have been refreshed by completing a game that only tried to do a few things, but just absolutely nailed them. Keeping things simple usually pays off, and throwing too many flavours in can sometimes dilute and ruin a potentially excellent idea.