What are different types of games?
Do all games share the same exact structure?
Games Board Games Video Games
They must share something in order
to be called a game
Playcentric - focuses on involving the player in your design
keeping the player experience in mind
testing the gameplay through every phase of development.
How do we judge whether or not something is a game?
Players – voluntarily participate in &
consumes the entertainment (game)
are potential winners
voluntarily accept the rules & constraints of a game
Acceptance of the rules of a game, is both psychological and
emotional for players, which must be consider as part of the
playcentric process of game design.
Objectives - specific goals for players
In life we set our own objectives and work diligently to achieve them
In games - the objective is a key element
without it the experience loses much of its structure
the need to work toward the objective measures our involvement
in the game.
Procedures - actions or methods of play
allowed by the rules
guide player behavior
create interactions that would never take place outside the
they must be followed
confirms that these procedures are an important because they
set games apart from behaviors and experiences.
Rules - limit player behavior and prohibit
Video game - If nails are for nail guns; you can’t use nails in the
Card game – Go Fish: If you have hearts when you are asked for
one, you must give it up
Must you follow the rules?
Will the other players force you to follow the rules?
The concept of rules & procedures imply authority..
But where does the authority come from?
Authority of the rule is:
The unspoken agreement to submit to the experience of
playing the game
If you do not follow rules then you are not playing the game
players understand that they are a KEY structural element of the
without them games would not function.
can be use to further our goal
they can combined to
make new products or items
can be bought & sold in various types of markets.
These items/objects (resources) are made:
valuable because they can help players achieve their goal
but are made scarce in the system by the designers.
Procedures and rules tend to deter players from accomplishing their
Example – Go Fish
you cannot ask everyone at the same time to give you their hearts;
you must ask each player one at a time
therefore, risking you might not get a card and lose your turn.
The relationship between
objectives of the player & rules and procedures
limit and guide behavior
Which creates another element to the game:
Boundaries - rules and goals that
players apply only within the game and not
in “real life”
Magic Circle – the physical and/or conceptual space in which
a game takes place
it is a temporary world where the rules of the game apply,
rather than the rules of the real world.
either you win or lose
The outcome of a game differs from the objective
all players can achieve the objective
Only one player can win the game.
The uncertainty of the outcome is important to the playcentric
it is a key motivator for the player
If a player can anticipate the outcome of a game they will stop
complex resource structures
character definitions these make up the essence (spirit, soul of games,
core, heart, fundamental nature) of games
They are important for the game designer to understand:
they provide structure/form
can help the designer make choices in their design process
understand problems that arise in their playtesting process.
Engaging the Player
Why does one game capture the imagination of players
and another one falls flat?
Some players like the challenges
Most players need something to draw them in
allowing them to connect emotionally with the experience.
Let us not forget:
Games are a form of entertainment;
Which moves us both intellectually and emotionally.
The sense of engagement comes from different things for
Not all games require elaborate means to create it.
Challenges - creating tension and/or
Increased challenges heighten the tension and cause
If the challenge remains level or flat players
think they have conquered the game and stop playing OR
move on to another game
There must be a balance
the amount of challenge is key to keep the player engaged with the
Play – engage with game system
BUT play itself is not a game
Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salen define play as:
free movement within a more rigid structure.
opportunities for players to use imagination, fantasy, inspiration &
free form types of interaction to achieve objectives within the game
to play within the game
to engage the challenges it offers.
Play can be
Serious – Chess
Charges & aggressive – Call of Duty
Fantasy – World of Witchcraft
To engaging player in your game :
Play should be appealing
AND designed for a bit of free play within a rigid game structure
Puzzles vs Games
rules based systems
the goal is for one player to win
also rule based systems
the goals is to find a solution; not to beat an opponent
What is a puzzle?
Dictionary definition – a toy or other contrivance designed to
amuse by presenting difficulties to be solved by ingenuity or a
fun & have a right answer
a form of play – they allow you to suspend the rules of everyday life
& give us permission to do things that are not practical
tricky –Rubik's cube
easy they disappoint
hard they are discouraging
Four types of play
Range from the most to the least interactive
Premise - The basic way a game creates
Base-level effect of the premise:
Is to make it easier for players to scrutinize/review their choices
Is a powerful tool for involving players emotionally in the interaction
of the formal elements
What is the premise of Monopoly?
Why was it so successful in the 1930?
Classwork – Premise – Exercise 2.7
What are the premises for the games Risk, Clue, Pit, and
If you don’t know these games, pick games that you are more
Can be tools of engagement
video games characters can be:
vessels for player participation
allows players to experience situations and conflicts through the
disguise of a mask they create and direct
What is your favorite video game character?
are different the premise because they are narrative
unfold with games
can engage players emotionally
The Sum of Parts
Wrapping it up:
All the parts that we identified rely on each other
Games are systems
Systems are groups of interrelated elements that work together to
form a complex whole
“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”
Who said this quote?
A game is:
closed formal system that
engages players in structured conflict
resolves its uncertainty in an unequal outcome
What is in store for future game designers?
the realm of possibilities is infinite
good game designers will evolve their game past even their wildest dreams
they need to push the envelope and transport players to places they didn’t