Random Game Design Notes From Chris Crawford

A few years ago I hosted an all-day game design session with Chris Crawford. After the session, I took some notes and shared them with my colleagues. These notes were geared-towards “Kid’s” games, but many of them hold true for any kind of indie/Flash/Retro/etc. game that you might be building these days. In no particular order. Here are some tidbits on game design that you may (or may not) find useful:

  • The competitive advantage of games is Interactivity
  • Interactivity is revolutionary
  • Interactivity means power
  • Play is metaphorical
  • Play must be safe
  • Play need not be exotic
  • Play is the MOST IMPORTANT way kids learn about the world
  • Challenge necessitate the rules
  • Challenge is in the journey
  • Challenge helps define identity
  • Conflict: Directness and intensity can be modulated
  • Conflict: Man vs Nature, Man vs. Self are most appropriate for kids
  • Rewards: Playing should be the reward
  • Do: Always think about this: what does a player do?
  • Reality: Acting real is more important that looking real or sounding real

Crawford’s is filled with this kind of stuff. You can get a good dose of it in his book On Game Design, in his newer book on Interactive Storytelling, or in the free online version of his game design classic, The Art Of Computer Game Design.

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