I very much question many people's judgement of good game versus good theme integration. There are some terrific games listed here, but just because the game is terrific doesn't mean its theme integration is any good.
Quoted from mof:
So what's theme integration?
Taking the assets of the game's theme and implementing them into gameplay in a way that makes you actually feel involved with whatever the theme is.
The best example I can think of is America's Most Haunted. AMH uses the balls and toys in very innovative ways, to make each ball feel like a character in a story. For example, in the doctor mode, one of your fellow ghost hunters gets trapped in the morgue with the doctor ghost (this is shown on the playfield by the ball getting trapped in saucer behind the door). Another ball is launched out (you) as you try to save your friend. You bash the ghost to distract him (the ghost toy then looks forward right at you and makes remarks directly to you the player), and then you hit the door to damage it while he's distracted. The ghost then snaps back to looking at the door and makes more comments. You repeat this process until you bust down the door, and as you're doing so your partner who is trapped in the morgue is making comments back at you. That's just illustrating one mode of the many in the game, and each integrates the theme and makes you feel involved with the game's story and world in similarly innovative ways.
So an example of a game in this thread that's been brought up a lot that I can't seem to find good theme integration in at all, Tron. What about the features in Tron have anything to do with the Tron element they're suppose to represent? Like if Quorra multiball didn't say Quorra on it, how would you know it has anything to do with the character Quorra? You're not interacting with the game in any special way that relates to the character, you're just playing a multiball. I find all the modes/multiballs in Tron to be similarly detached from the theme. Don't get me wrong, Tron is an incredible game, I just can't find any way that it represents the qualities of good theme integration.
Bombs dropping on the DMD? It's been a while since I've played a WPT, but I don't remember that happening. Where's it at in the game?
Quoted from Mudflaps:
The ball in Tron represents the identity disc, programs, and light cycles.
When the ball is shot into the spinning disc, it's literally flung back at you, similar to the disc battle in the movie. Light cycle multiball and Quorra multiball are similar battles that follow the movie fairly closely.
Tron as a theme is executed spectacularly.
I can kind of see what you mean with Disc Battle and Light Cycle, but not the others. The spinning disc throwing the ball back does very well replicate the disc battles, I hadn't noticed that before. Once you're in the multiball though, I find that it really lacks the kind of content that makes you feel like your action is progressing you to any point. Like sure hitting the disc feels like a disc is being thrown back at you, or hitting the ramps flows like riding a light cycle, but there's really not much for callouts and animations that truly make it feel like you're truly participating in a battle against opponents. I guess that's partially a limitation of using a movie license though, because it restricts them to using callouts and clips from the movie, rather than callouts and animations that are more inclusive to you the player.
Quoted from EvanBingham:I knew you would be involved with this thread the second I saw it!
I'll go with simpsons
Of course! Over analyzing theme integration and game design theory is one of my favorite pass times
Quoted from EvanBingham:
Yeah someone asked earlier about theme integration and I think that's hard to identify. Putting a dragon on top of the targaryan shot that shoots violently back at you is a good example I guess....but it's not like the right orbit in the game has anything to do with Martell. Does the stern with best theme integration have to have every single shot represent something from the theme?
And if that's the case, how do tron or wheel of fortune's orbits have anything to do with their themes?
It's not necessarily how a particular shot looks or acts on the ball, it's how the game acts on you hitting said shot. Like in my AMH example, the door isn't necessarily tied to being the morgue, the ball goes through there at many different times and the shot itself is tied to many different things within the theme itself.
In fact, if each shot were tied down to a specific thing, your games would be very narrow in terms of theme integration, because every element of the theme that can be integrated would be restricted to what items are on the playfield.
Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside