Escape from Tarkov works much better than it should by conventional standards of “good game design”. As a matter of fact, it even deliberately weakens some of them and turns the resulting “issues” into strengths by applying a unique kind of core loop.

The first-person shooter from Russian developer Battlestate…

“In a game with randomized levels, people will keep playing just to see what comes up. But to make it more than a glorified slot machine requires putting together a collection of systems and rules that is worth understanding, behind a world that feels interconnected.”

(Derek Yu in “Spelunky”, Boss…

Celebrated among players at the time, but apparently largely unnoticed by game developers, Zach Gage invented a very special game mode for Pocket-Run Pool in 2018.

The so-called “Insta-Tournaments” build on the established concept of “Daily Challenges”, where all players of a single-player game are given one attempt a day…

“Hand in hand, take flight across seven realms, solve mysteries, help others, make friends, and create enriching memories together.” (Quote from Sky’s official website)

In 2012 thatgamecompany brought Journey to the world which is rightfully still being praised to this day as one of the pioneers of games as experiential narrative. Just a couple of weeks ago Sky: Children of the Light was released for iOS as a spiritual successor. …

Many video games feature elements of busywork. Some of them however, end up being dominated by it. Once the infamous “grind” takes over, it’s not about skill, competence or systemic reasoning anymore. Instead, the amount time sunk into a game becomes the main factor for the player’s success. …

A while ago, I came to the conclusion that the term “video games”, as it is used these days, ultimately contains two fundamentally different art forms. On the one hand, gameplay-driven series of mechanical challenge, that primarily use their theme and narrative context to intuitively explain their rules. …

Fabian Fischer

Game designer chasing the elusive beauty of systems. https://twitter.com/Ludokultur

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