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Play Forms

If you want to learn how to play like a game designer and you don’t know how to start, the Play Forms framework is a good starting point. It is based on a classic book about play, called “Man, Play and Games“. I have never read it, but there is a lot of material out there if you know how to search.

The framework is based on the conception that play has 4 basic forms:

  • Agon means competition, it can be against the game itself, against virtual enemies or against other Players
  • Alea means chance, the random factor that the Player is not able to control
  • Mimicry means the imitation of something belonging to other contexts, such as real life or fantasy worlds or abstract concepts
  • Ilinx means the vertigo, the senses brought to their limits

Ask yourself these questions while you are playing:

  • Am I competing against someone or something?
  • Does my outcome depend on randomness at some level?
  • Am I interpreting some role or adapting to metaphors that I have already seen in other mediums?
  • Do I feel some of the moments are extremely exaggerated and exciting?
Published inGame Design

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