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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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Play Must Be Safe

Every now and then I read some young whippersnapper designer suggesting some sort of feedback device that provides negative feedback to the player. Most often it takes the form of a device that provides an electrical shock if the player transgresses the expectations of the game. At other times people have suggested unpleasant noises or forcing the player to start all over.

All of these ideas violate one of the fundamental elements of play: It's safe. The whole idea of play is to give the player an experience without the danger that might normally accompany that experience.

A revealing manifestation of this problem lies in the matter of frequent game saving, especially in role-playing games. Most players take the precaution of ...

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