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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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The Point Is the Challenge, Not the Goal

I once designed a little exercise game for myself. I hung a motorcycle tire from a rope tied to the ceiling of a high garage. Halfway up the rope I also attached a heavy weight. This created a compound pendulum, whose mechanical properties are quite complicated. When the tire is placed in motion, the intermediate weight is dragged along with it, and starts oscillating in its own fashion, dragging the tire in its turn. From ground level, the tire appears to gyrate in wild and unpredictable ways. Then I drew a circle one meter in diameter on the floor directly underneath the pivot point of the rope. This was the field of play.

The goal of the game was to hit the tire with my sword as many times as possible, ...

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