Chapter 4. Context

Games are made of rules, and those rules allow us to create choices for the player. But those choices exist only when the player understands those rules. Context is what helps a player to internalize those otherwise-abstract rules that make up our game. Digital games have the capacity to use visual art, animation, music, and sound to shape that context and communicate with the player. These channels of communication can say a lot.

First Impressions

I played an early version of Super Crate Box (2010) before it was available online. In this game, boxes appear at random positions on the screen; the player is scored by how many boxes she can collect. Green monsters of various kinds—little and fast, big and slow, monsters that ...

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