Short Exercise: MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun

The game mechanics of Cube Escape by Rusty Lake include a point and click interface, first-person perspective, an inventory that shows the items the player has collected for future use, and many mini-puzzles that progress the storyline. Because the game has no time pressure or lives count, the player can play the game at their own pace and leisure. What the game does best is its narrative mechanics. The first person perspective along with the point/click navigation allow the player to directly influence the story. The absence of time pressure creates a dynamic that immerses the player in the game as if they are the main character of the world. These simple mechanics also allow the player to fully engage with the ambience and the complex narrative created by the game’s unique old-school visuals, eerie soundtrack, and visual symbolisms that add deeper meanings to the story.

The game is also divided into a series of games, such that one game captures a single storyline. This mechanic further allows the player to slow down in their playing to explore, appreciate the atmosphere, and delve deeper into the non-linear plot. These dynamics – immersive narrative and non-linear and leisure gameplay – makes the fun of both challenge and fantasy. I picked challenge because the puzzles require logic and observation and in order to drive the plot, the player needs to successfully solve a series of puzzles of increasing difficulty. The game aesthetic of fantasy comes from its powerful storytelling dynamic and quirky visuals.

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