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Towards Pattern in Game Play Experience

Posted on 3. April 2009  in (Learning) Games, Research

When thinking about Patterns in Game Play of course one has to have Björk&Holopainens Book on Pattern in Game Design (link opens in new window) in mind. Someone may find Zagal’s Game Ontology Project (link opens in new window) appropriate. Both approaches apply a sacral, i.e. a rather architectural perspective on digital games. Their understanding of the term „pattern“ has a structural motivation that might be applied accross digital games. However, when it comes to (the design of) game playing experience these approaches might be less useful. Conceptualisations that model the dynamics of game playing experiences are hardly to find in these approaches. At that point Raph Kosters writings about a Grammar of Game Play (link opens in new window) as well as Cook’s Game Play Notation (link opens in new window) become interesting. These approaches focus on user experience design (UX Design) applying an understanding of „pattern“ as phenomon that reoccurs is a varying manner when playing a game. Patterns then serve as some kind of abstraction, i.e. as the principle behind these occurrences (instances of the pattern). Such an understanding of patterns can also be found in the „Game bricks“ approach by Djaouti, Alvarez, Jessel, et al. on (link opens in new window).

It is my impression that this approach might bridge the gap between Björk & Holopainens sacral perspective and Kosters UX perspective. Hopefully, I am going to take their perspective into account when continuing my work on „Layered Languages of Ludology“ a term coined by Prof. Jantke.

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