Yesterday, I was made aware of Tom Francis’s advice on explaining your game to new people, titled How To Explain Your Game To An Asshole (it’s ok — he assures us he’s qualified to write such a piece, on account of being an asshole himself). The article is an annotated transcript of his talk at GDC the other year, and it’s brilliant. Witty and relatable, and extremely practical.
So it inspired me to take a look at how I explain Thief. Turns out I probably do a fair job already (or at least avoid some of the very worst traps): when I talk about it, I tend to focus mostly on a broad description of how it plays rather than going too quickly into the stuff that you only care about if I’ve already won you over somewhat.
And of the stuff he suggests making sure you cover, I tend to hit most of that, too. But the one I definitely miss — and now he’s made me aware of it it really does feel like an omission — is giving a cool example of play. When I came to write that bit, it was tough, but I think it definitely deserves my effort. As he says:
If you say it's a game about possessing your enemies, I'm interested. But if you tell me I can possess an enemy, throw him into a friend, and knock them both into a landmine before I switch back to my own body and watch them blow up — I’m sold.←