Chapter 21. Making Things Difficult

GAMES ARE INEFFICIENT. There are quicker paths to the top corner of Candyland—just ignore the winding path. Throw in some extra gear, and first-person shooter games like Halo or Call of Duty could be completed much more quickly. If the goal of Hopscotch is to reach a particular point, just get rid of the squares—that’d be easier, right? And what about Poker? If we just had everyone keep their cards face up on the table, it’d be a lot easier to know what to play or bet.

But it is precisely these kinds of conflicts that make a game fun and allow the game designer to shape the path on which players travel. Take away these artificial constraints and the game ceases to be a game. Conflicts and choices, however inefficient ...

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