One game I recently played and I really love is It Takes Two. I think narrative, challenge, and fellowship are definitely the three core aesthetics that make this game stand out, and these aesthetics are closely tied to the mechanics and dynamics of the game. The game mechanics are simple: collaborate with your partner to turn yourselves into humans again. However, the Book of Love sets many obstacles for players along the way, and there are other challenges including puzzles and combats in the game based on the narrative context. For example, players need to fight a robot wasp on their way to their daughter’s room. Each player has a limited amount of health, and they need to start over from their last saving point if they die in the game. For the dynamics part of the game, the two players will get different tools and have different skills they can use in each chapter of the game. Their skills complement each other and are key to solving puzzles and beating enemies in this game. For example, in the cuckoo clock chapter, one player can create clones of herself and the other player can rewind time. Both players need to work together to overcome the obstacles.
Optional: Chris Crawford
I really like Crawford’s taxonomy, but I also think that the lines for some distinctions have become quite blurry in recent years. For example, Crawford thinks non-interactive entertainment is in the same class as movies and books. But do interactive shows like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch count as playthings? What about watching a YouTuber live streaming the games they are playing? Also, I noticed that Crawford’s use of the question “Is there a defined goal associated with the use of this item?” to differentiate toys and games is also mentioned in the article we read about “What Games Are and Aren’t”. I think some games can be both with and without a goal depending on how players interact with the game. For example, in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, players can follow the game mechanics to fight the four divine beasts. At the same time, players can also choose to wander around in the beautiful world and pick up fruits without goals in mind.