How do you determine a game’s qualities? I don’t just mean how do you know if a game is good, I mean, how do you determine if a game’s succeeding at what it’s trying to do?
We’ve got a culture of games that tend to focus on elements of polish or style, or familiarity in design, rather than trying to treat each game as if it was a thing that was trying to convey information meaningfully. For this project, I’m going to try and offer a rudimentary guide to a way to understanding games from the perspective of a teacher striving to assess a game.
Now, as a caveat, games as art pieces are going to be artistic works. This means that all the problems that come with art are going to come up : The player brings their own context to the narrative, the author does not necessarily have a final say on how the art should be interpreted, and there are always unintended consequences in interpretation. This should be considered as not a guide on how people should all regard games, but instead is a a basic sort of toolbox for talking about and understanding games on an academic, educational level.
This essay seeks to be a simple, straightforward, readable guide to grading and treating a game as a whole, created object, a synthesis of three major components that make up the whole text. We’re going to go over these basic components of what a game says and how in these posts, and we’re going to refer to the LHA300 game Olivia and I outlined, the Suits to do it.