The theory of life and games

Gamification in business concept illustration
Picture source here

Living is more or less built up around rules. What one may and may not do, what one may do under certain circumstances and what one shouldn’t do but have to in order to…survive? When rules intersect one another and when one takes action, consequenses may occur – exactly which depend on the combination of rules one acts out. Whatever happens one will feel it. It can give a sense of relief, fury, euphoria, sadness or something else.

Does this sound abstract or can you actually relate? As much as it seems like pure philosophy – or law – the theory is in fact concerning something different. Games modelling design. When learning about the MDA-framework for game design, I couldn’t stop myself from approaching it as a life model. But back to the game design version. What does MDA stand for?

  • Mechanics
    When one creates a game, rules need to be set up. Where, what, when, how and more. But without a player in motion, mechanics are nothing but these words.
  • Dynamics
    This is what happens when a player plays a game and uses the rules in different combinations. It is the general goal of the game and different actions have different outcomes – consequences.
  • Aesthetics
    Many people mistake this for the design, the looks of a game. It is not. As opposed to life, aesthetics are the player’s emotional responses to what happens.

See what I mean? Creating games is serious business and now I know why most contemporary games are so well-made and plunge the player into a state of flow. Reality is the core to which they apply magic. Magic in many different senses. What kind of game could my life be turned into, I wonder?


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