Over to you Andy...
If you’re reading this article on a games related blog then the chances are that you enjoy playing games. Some might even call you a “gamer”. People who play games are as different from each other as the multitude of games that exist, but they all share one trait: games are the things gamers take part in to entertain themselves.
Now that we’ve made it clear that a) you’re a gamer and b) you play games it’s time to take a look at what a game actually is:
We can define a game as a collection of game mechanics that work together to create gameplay. Each game mechanic is in itself a construction of rules that define the actions available to the players.
In other words we can say that all games, be they videogames, boardgames or tabletop wargames, use game mechanics to deliver an engaging pastime for people partaking in the activity. Note that I said “engaging” and not “fun”. This is because simply throwing together a bunch of rule constructs does not create a fun experience for the player. In what way all the separate game mechanics of a game interact with each other greatly determines the complexity and sets the lines, or borders, of interactivity in which a player can “move” or “take actions”. This can vary from very simple games like Pong to extremely complex ones like Advanced Squad Leader.
During this little series of blogposts we’ll be taking a look at different game mechanics and their relation to gameplay and theme.
We’ll do this in a lighthearted manner because we’re not preparing ourselves to be game designers, but maybe a little deeper understanding of these terms can enhance the experience of the games we play. And if not that you’ll at least have spent a couple minutes reading something that you can comment on J