Lecture Date: Friday, September 1

Today in lab we’ll discuss Mechanics / Dynamics / Aesthetics. Make sure to have read the MDA paper on the schedule and watched the EC video that goes along with today!

What are the aspects of aesthetics? What sort of game should you make? What do you love?

Why do we discuss games in the terms of genres as we do? Consider how we discuss genres in music and movies. Is it the same?

Consider the MDA ideas in the context of what we have been discussing as to what is a game:

  • Mechanics - rules and systems
  • Dynamics - experiential play
  • Aesthetics - underlying emotive reasons for playing

Is there a reason we should categorize by mechanics? (some mechanics easier/more approachable than others)

Let’s consider what aesthetics we might go for in our games. How many aesthetics do we want?

  • Sense Pleasure – stimulates senses / play it for the graphics or audio – Ex. Rez, Child of Eden
  • Fantasy – can do something that you can’t do in real live – Ex. COD, NFL, Rock Band
  • Narrative – game as drama, stories – Ex. Final Fantasy, Sims, Mass effect
  • Challenge – game as obstacle course – Ex. Any game with arbitrary unnecessary obstacles, such as Mario games
  • Fellowship – working together – Ex. WoW, Team Fortress 2, Journey
  • Competition – games as dominance – Ex. all fighting games, StarCraft, League of Legends
  • Discovery – uncover the new – Ex. Skyrim, Minecraft, Guild Wars 2, Dark Cloud
  • Expression – being creative – Ex. Minecraft, SimCity
  • Abnegation – game as past time / tune out gaming, grinding – Ex. Bejeweled, Tetris, Jetpack Joyride, endless runners

MDA shows us the second-order design challenge as software engineers.

Consider spawn camping as an example of mechanic into dynamic and emergent game play. What aesthetics does this create?

After our class discussion, we’ll do a quick game evaluation together.

Materials: MDA Paper

Mario lab:

Luigi lab: