Category: Game Design Theory

Articles in this category focus on a game we have played and try to break down what makes it work the way it works. Focus is more on elements of the game and what effect they have on the player, without trying to make a judgement call on whether or not that effect is positive or negative.

The Unresolved End Credits

At the end of Final Fantasy VII, after the credits and FMVs, there is a screen with lots of slowly animated stars. As this loops continuously, the main theme plays in the background.

When I saw this after my recent play-through, I figured it might shortly cut to another scene. When a short wait yielded nothing, I figured I was meant to press something. When this did nothing, I admit to feeling a pang of uneasiness.

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The “And And Quest” in Dragon Age and Ni No Kuni

In which the author discusses a failing of conventional game design theory that has been generally resolved in other media long ago.

Measuring conflict

Conflict is essential to a plot. Some screenwriters go so far as to say that conflict is plot, and suitably, screenwriters have a lot of tools for testing to make sure a plot has sufficient conflict.

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Level Up Systems & Mad Max

Mad Max was an underwhelming game. I feel like it was almost something amazing, but after a few hours it became clear that it wasn’t going to deliver on its conceptual ambitions.

After my initial disappointment, however, I started to enjoy picking it apart, simply because it did a few things differently. Little things that other games don’t always give much attention to. One of those things was its level up system.

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