Game Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional and independent game developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When teaching game development, my student's obsess about building realistic or complex art/models/animation. And spending wayyy to much time trying to get accurate collision detection between two 3D models [despite my best efforts]

However I would like them to spend more time thinking about developing the game mechanics, interaction and game play.

I'm looking for some games where the visuals are simple but have good game play.

Things I am thinking about are Cubes' vs Spheres or Impossible Game.

What are more examples of visually simple (preferably 3D) games to help inspire my students?

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Byte56, Josh Petrie, doppelgreener, Tetrad Jun 21 '12 at 12:50

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You could give your students the assets and collision implementation. If you still wanted to teach about collision, you could make it something like a math homework assignment. – Derek E Jun 20 '12 at 18:25
dereke, we do give some assets, but there 20 project groups, all woking on games of their own devising, so we don't have assets that cover every game being produced – Ken Jun 20 '12 at 19:14
"List" questions where every answer is equally valid aren't a good fit for the SE Q&A format. – Tetrad Jun 21 '12 at 12:50
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Minecraft (doh!)


As a side note, most of the indie hits don't apply IMHO. Braid, Fez, Limbo et al. focus on visual appeal as one of the main selling points. Even if the graphics are not ment to be realistic or visualy complex, they take a major part in the development cycle, while f.e Minecraft values function over form.

share|improve this answer

The best game that comes to mind is

Thomas was alone^ : It's an amazing minimalist game that really shows that graphics don't matter and that gameplay is king.

I'm also working on my own minimalist game at the moment for the Xbox 360 for XBLA, and here's a list of other cool minimalist games.

  • ^Everyday the same dream is extremely minimalist and well done. 2d

  • Canabalt is somewhat minimalist. 2d / 2.5d perspective

  • Super Meat boy is somewhat minimalist. 2d

  • Grey - Flash Game on Kongregate 2d

  • One and one story - somewhat minimalist. 2d

  • The Floor is Jelly - very minimalist. 2d

  • Wonderputt - minimalist in some aspect. 2.5d

  • Monaco - 2.5dish

  • Frozen Synapse - 2.5dish

  • Fez - 2.5d - 3d world

  • Feist - 3d (use's Limbo-est aesthetics)

  • Limbo - 3d (styling / thematic visual style)

  • Audiotorium - 3d ish

  • Journey - 3d (minimalist in some aspect)

  • Audiosurf - 3d (minimalist in some aspect)

  • CubeMen - is a 3d Mac OS / PC shooter.

  • Edge (iPhone game) very minimalist. 3d - 2.5d

  • Antichamber Game (minimalist and confusing)

"The best advice I learned at the GDC 2012 Writing Better Games Narrative workshop is that students should focus on - this : "Game Play is king". -- Everything else will follow as long as gameplay is the primary focus."

Edit : * Sorry these are mostly 2d games.

share|improve this answer
  • Flotilla
  • Atom Zombie Smasher
  • Bit.Trip series
  • All old-school roguelikes, like Nethack, Angband, ADOM, and Dwarf Fortress of course.
share|improve this answer

Games with minimalist graphics and great game play:

  • Darwinia and Multiwinia
  • Frozen Synapse
  • A New Zero (
  • Knytt (
  • Avadon, Avernum, Geneforge
share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.