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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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Play Need Not Be Exotic

Some game designers believe that play must have an exotic, escapist aspect to be successful. Put the player in the shoes of some barbarian prince, they say, or a laser-pistol-packing space swashbuckler, and the player can escape the dull tedium of his meaningless life. These designers have missed the underlying truth at work. Players don't need to be spirited away to an exotic world; they want to face and overcome interesting challenges, and the pragmatic world in which they live goes to great lengths to minimize all risk.

Skateboarding games allow players the chance to skateboard in environments forbidden to real skateboarders—but these environments need not be alien wastelands with menacing tendrils and hidden caves. ...

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