MDA & 8 kinds of fun

Notes on Aesthetics of Play

Source: Aesthetics of Play – Redefining Genres in Gaming – Extra Credits – YouTube

  • mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics
  • How are games categorized?
    • mechanics: the math of shooting in RPG
    • dynamics: the experiential play of the mechanicals. eg running and gunning
    • aesthetics: the emotive experience
  • Players care about aesthetics → dynamics → mechanics
  • Game designers care about mechanics → dynamics → aesthetics
  • Game designers have labeled an aesthetically diverse group by its MECHANICS
    • First Person Shooter (100s of games labeled as such just because the camera or the POV is that of FPS. But, each game is wildly different aesthetically)
  • Types of aesthetics:
    • Sense Pleasure : Feels good on some sense like on the eyes, or feel good.
    • Fantasy: be someone you cannot be in real life. Eg — being a soldier, or a rockstar, or a football player (FIFA career mode)
    • Narrative : Game as drama. Observing others in their life struggles.
    • Challenge: Game as an obstacle course. Desirable difficulty.
    • Fellowship: camaraderie or multi player games
    • Competition: Games as expression of self dominance.
    • Discovery : Exploring new domains, world, tools etc.
    • Expression: Creating tools, gears, costumes, dances for your virtual characters
    • Abnegation: Game as past time. Let’s you zone out from your life for a bit

My chosen game:

Horizon : Legend of the dawn

  • Fantasy : I can be the protagonist in her world.
  • Narrative: Observing her struggles and her quest to avenge her tribe.
  • Challenge: Mini-challenges to overcome to finish her challenge.
  • Discovery: New tools new enemies found in successive rounds.
  • Abnegation : Helps me procrastinate or shut off from my life.

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