Game Design as Make-Believe (6): Depiction vs Narration
Sicart & Bateman (1): Blackbox Rules

Game Design as Make-Believe

Game Design as Make-Believe was a serial in six parts running here at It ran in parallel with another serial at Only a Game running from March 15th to May 27th 2010, and both serials were based on the work of Professor Kendall Walton. The parallel serial here at adapted Walton's make-believe theory of representations to the design of videogames and boardgames. Each of the parts ends with a link to the next one, so to read the entire serial, simply click on the first link below, and then follow the "next" links to read on.

Here are the six parts of Game Design as Make-Believe, each of which begins with a link to the corresponding part of the source serial:

  1. Imagination
  2. Props
  3. Principles of Generation
  4. Fictional Worlds
  5. Participation
  6. Depiction vs Narration

If you enjoyed this serial, please leave a comment. Thank you!


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To be honest, I've been skimming and waiting for the series to be done so I can scrape them into a single document for a good long sit-down with them.

But the bits that have grabbed my eyeballs while skimming have been great. As you suggested, they really resonate with my approach.

Corvus: If it were me, I too would want to have the whole thing in a more readily readable form... I've considered offering a pdf of the serial(s) but I don't really have the time to mess with such things (especially since I'd almost certainly be sucked into making further edits!)

I've essentially not shut up about this when talking to you recently. :) I believe you have a lot to gain from drawing on Walton's approach, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts when you get around to reading it in detail.

All the best!

I was considering making it a PDF myself. I'll send it to you when/if I do and you can make it available.

That'd be great - thanks!

I very much enjoyed the series! Sometimes it's hard to keep an ear out for resources that come out of traditional non-game orientated academia! Good work!

Dan: thanks for the kind words! I really enjoyed adapting Professor Walton's theory to games and I'm glad that other people have gained something from reading about it.

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