All posts tagged: science of game design

What are game mechanics?

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The phrase “game mechanics” sends a pleasant shiver down my spine. At the heart of every game are these mysterious whirring clicking mechanisms that deliver to the player pleasure and thrills. We use them, we build them, but I’ve never seen a good unified definition of game mechanics that gives us a practical base upon which to build great games. Here is one. It is clobbered together from a variety of influences though many of […]

Games are designer food for infovores

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I happened across this article in New Scientist discussing how the brain processes information. Research by Irving Biederman of Universtiy of Southern California in University Park and Edward Vessel of New York University provides some indirect scientific backing for many of the concepts I’ve discussed here such as: Games as drugs Burnout The pleasure of groking that Raph Koster has discussed so eloquently. They also claim to have coined the term “infovore” (which already had […]

Ze Story Snobs

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There exists a powerful group within the gaming world that actively seeks to stamp out innovation unless it falls along the prescribed lines of their rigid and conservative doctrine. Who are these people? They are every developer, gamer and publisher who promotes the ideal that a good game must have a story. Raised on fine stories from the golden years of novel writing and movie production, story snobs see games as just another opportunity to […]

Erotic Mathematics: Lessons in Perception

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Eros ex Math 4 Digital image by Peter Miller ©2004 https://web.archive.org/web/20060114075521/www.perpetualocean.com/amgallery8.html I was recently sent a gallery of erotic mathematical renderings by a friend with a remarkable nose for the obscure. They are certainly evocative. It goes to show how a little art training goes a long way in the pursuit of the harder sciences. Naturally this got me thinking of on one of my favorite topics. How do we create high impact experiences without […]

GameInnovation.org

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Jesse Schell, over at Carnegie Mellon, dropped me a note on a fun project documenting game design innovations. I normally do not post the editorialized links that you find on many sites. For this, I’ll make an exception. Here’s the blurb: “The Game Innovation team is launching The Game Innovation Database (GIDb) today. The goal of the GIDb is to: Document every innovation in the entire history of computer and videogames. Provide a comprehensive taxonomy […]

The root of shock game advertising

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I was flipping through my copy of EGM with my fiancé just the other day. It was a rather embarrassing tour through the current gaming culture. In the first few pages, we perused the standard mixture of guns and ultra violence. “Look,” I pointed, “there’s Lara’s bum festooned with some charming grenade accessories. And check out those flying WW2 chaps on page 10. They certainly do bounce about when consumed in a massive fireball.” Finally, […]

The Blind Men and the Elephant: Thoughts on an integrative framework for understanding games

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It was six men of IndostanTo learning much inclined,Who went to see the Elephant(Though all of them were blind),That each by observationMight satisfy his mind. John Godfrey Saxe,“The Blind Men and the Elephant” To understand game design, it is common to look at games from a wide variety of perspectives. Much like the blind men describing the elephant in the old Indian tale, each perspective brings something new to the picture. However, if we restrict […]