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Spotlight: Means-Based Game Design

Posted Mar 18, 2010 by Michael Bitton

Spotlight: Means-Based Game Design

This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Means-Based Game Design” by SirBenedict. The post is SirBenedict’s first post, so he has certainly gotten off to a good start! While it’s still early, and there are not many responses at the moment, I found the content of the original post to be quite thought provoking and I’d like to highlight it this week.

In the thread, SirBenedict wonders why we don’t see more “means based” game design, I.E. design based around enjoying the ride, instead of rushing to the destination:

“What if there were a game about means rather than ends, the experience rather than the completion. It appears to me that "leveling up" "beating the game" or "killing the monster" are not the inherently rewarding components of a game. Take sports as an example. People don't play sports just because they want to win. Rather, they play sports because the mere experience of engaging in them is rewarding on a level far below the abstractions of status and hierarchy. Sipping hot chocolate or smelling a frangrant flower are engaged in because the experiences themselves are rewarding, not because once you've drunk the cocoa you get "cocoa xp" or because you "leveled up your flower-smelling ability." In short, I think that the whole concept of designing games around "success" or "end" should be exchanged for games which focus on the experience of the game or means to its "end".”

Read this week's Community Spotlight here.

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Michael Bitton / Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB