Praise for Chris Bateman

  • Jane McGonigal
    "the most thoughtful respondent in games, barring none"
  • Kendall Walton
    "wonderfully refreshing and inventive"

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Philosophy Books

What's your Gamer Class?

Game Design

« Game Design as Make-Believe (5): Participation | Main | Game Design as Make-Believe »


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This is why online multi-player text games like the ones at are still popular. Despite the lack of graphics it is the 'players themselves' that make the game exciting. Human interaction combined with images from the imagination (instead of a graphics card).

After reading this series (only on this blog), I feel that I don't really have any practical knowledge that I can apply to game design, other than "more representational games are more accessible."

Not that I didn't find value in this, but are there are other practical points that I missed?

Godatplay: sorry that you did not find this serial especially practical. I have certainly found thinking along these lines to be very useful for my own work in game design, but I perhaps haven't transferred any of that conceptual thought in this serial, which is tied down in the adaptation required to get Professor Walton's ideas out to a wider audience.

Here are a handful of practical points I'd offer based on this half of the serial:

1. Players have different degrees of imagination. The greater the number of different kinds of props a game uses, the smaller and more specific the audience.
2. Games are not really closed systems - the principles of generation at work are embedded in the culture of players. This affects both the representational and functional aspects of games.
3. Control systems are not arbitrary. Relating to (2), the control schemes we use are part of the culture of videogames, and we should be cautious about deviating from what is already in place without good reason.
4. The positive aesthetic effect of a game is stronger if its representational and functional elements can be closely aligned.
5. The extensive use of text in any form automatically ensures that your game is going to have a more imaginative audience. This need not be a problem - cRPGs were always targeting the more imaginative player - but it should be borne in mind that mass market/casual games should aim to minimise the use of text.

I hope this gives you something more to take away from this!

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