Tower of Goo was one of those games I heard about very early, soon after its release, so I have a special relationship with it. I enjoyed playing with the download, tracking new games made by its creator(s), and eventually finding out that it would be developed into World of Goo, one of my all-time favorite puzzle games.
Tower of Goo was made as part of the Experimental Gameplay Project, a rapid-prototyping assignment-thing at Carnegie Mellon. The four grad students who ran it have just released a sort of After Action Review of their Lessons Learned from the Project, and it’s awesome.
They raise a number of salient points about game design, many of which are also about the creative process in general. Some of these points are basic principles you can find in game design manuals like Salen and Zimmerman’s Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, just arrived at through practice/experience and therefore from a slightly different angle. But many seem to me to be fairly unique to the form their own process took, and yet clearly applicable to a broader array of design situations than just a-game-a-week.
I’m looking forward to seeing what future iterations of the EGP at Carnegie Mellon produce, as well as what directions these original four take they’ve learned.