Consider an arcade game where you shoot falling objects and the goal is to beat the high-score.

What are some methods you can apply to such games to make the player feel it is fun and wants to play it again and again?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This question is too localized for this site. Read the GDSE FAQ: gamedev.stackexchange.com/faq However, your question might be OK if you rephrase it, so it can help other developers in future. See gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/822/… \$\endgroup\$ Oct 19, 2012 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do the arrows reflect? The screenshot highly suggests some nice comboo-ing to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – API-Beast
    Oct 19, 2012 at 18:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why do you want to make a game out of a game that you don't find "fun/interesting?" Shouldn't you start with something you think is good? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 19, 2012 at 19:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkusvonBroady OK thx, I generalised it a bit now. OK? \$\endgroup\$
    – j-a
    Oct 19, 2012 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NicolBolas Of course :) I just lacked the proper intuition. In my mind this was a fun game, I had to develop it up until this point to see that it was not as fun as I had envisioned. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – j-a
    Oct 19, 2012 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


I'll try to answer this question in a way that it can be helpful for other games. Your game has a lot in common with arcade highscore games , so maybe you can grab some ideas from them:

Combos: Combos are a good way to keep the adrenaline of the player going up. Combos must increase the score proportionally to its difficulty. It is nice if they trigger rare special game mechanics and visual/sound effects to keep the player interested in what happens if he can do the next difficulty level combo. Street fighter and fruit ninja (blitz) are good examples. This could be done in your game by hitting multiple hearts with the same arrow or in a small amount of time.

Increasing difficulty: In your game it seems possible that if a player has enough skill, he can keep playing forever. You can increase the hearts/arrow bags speed in your game as the score goes up (this has already been mentioned). Good examples of this mechanic are tetris and puzzle bubble.

Random good/bad luck prizes: In fruit ninja arcade, there are bananas and bombs. In puzzle bubble there are special bubbles. In your game there could be special hearts that would award the player with a good or bad bonus of some kind.

More specific ones:

  • Hearts of different sizes so the game visual doesn't feel too repetitive.
  • In the combos/bonus hearts you could temporarily create extra bows that would mimic the bow the player controls. This would result in the player throwing more then one arrow at a time.
  • There could be wind which would cause hearts not to fall completly vertically.
  • Have new bows/arrows with different properties to be unlocked as the player beats certain scores.

The general advice is to be creative and keep in mind that in these kind of games you can use the player curiosity, adrenaline and persistence to keep him playing the game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think most of these can be summarized as variety : don't force your player to do the exact same thing for extended periods of time. There are certainly games that break this rule (Super Hexagon comes to mind immediately), but I'd argue those are much more exception than rule. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 19, 2012 at 21:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even though that is true (can be summarised as variety) +1 for being specific and having good examples on how to achieve it! Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – j-a
    Oct 19, 2012 at 22:47

Try adding various game modes.

Bird Hunting: A bird (or multiple birds/any target you want) fly horizontally across the screen at different heights.

Target: A standard circular target bounces around the screen. Points are based on proximity to center. To keep it from just registering a hit at the bottom of the target, you could have a thin hitbox laid over the center. The target could move faster as the score goes up. This mode would typically have a finite number of shots.

Time Attack: Any game mode you feel like implementing, but with infinite ammo in a limited time. Possibly add a time penalty for missing (timer loses a few seconds, or can't shoot for a short time).

Point Multipliers: Consecutive hits gain more points than normal, while missing resets back to standard scoring.


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