One of my favorite moments from Star Wars is the ‘Let the Wookie win’ scene, where the protagonists play a futuristic version of chess. This game is called Dejarik, and canonical rules were never defined. In this post, I’ll propose a rule set for Dejarik that I created as a design exercise.
A common misconception among gamers and game designers is that challenge is equivalent to difficulty. In fact, the two terms are not interchangeable. In this brief post, we’ll look at some thoughts from game design experts on why these two concepts are different.
Time is a critically important resource. It’s hard to find uninterrupted chunks of time to put towards playing games. When players choose to play your game, you should do everything in your power to use their time respectfully. In this post, I’ll examine thoughts from several games-industry thinkers on the efficient use of time.
Good games have focus. Their designers have picked one idea, a core concept, and made it the thesis statement that guides the entire experience. Players often find that the most emotionally powerful games have a focus that resonates with their innate desires and motivations. In this post, I’ll examine the relationship between different types of games and human motivation.
After watching the BBC’s excellent adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, I’ve been on the lookout for any other media that riffs on the same source material. I’ve settled on two games: Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments and Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. In this post I will compare the two experiences, attempting to highlight what mystery games can learn from them in the future.
In the last few years, the indie game scene has produced an explosion of new games and ideas. This post will discuss some of these games and propose a new genre that I’m calling implicit games.
When designing games, it’s easy to add complexity. You can always come up with yet another feature to add to a game. However, some of the best game designers would argue that their craft is all about taking things out of their games. Indeed, most games that stand the test of time have elegant rule sets. These games are easy to learn because they have few rules, but hard to master because of what’s known as emergent gameplay—complexity that arises from the interplay of relatively simple rules.