Academic Master

Software Engineering

analyzing chapters three and four of Jesse Schell’s 2008 book “The Art Of Game Design: A Book Of Lenses”

“One of the most difficult tasks people can perform. However, much others may despise it, is the invention of good games.”

C G Jung

The following paper analyzes chapters three and four of Jesse Schell’s 2008 book “The Art Of Game Designing: A Book Of Lenses.” This manual-style book aims to teach readers to become improved video game designers. Throughout the book, Schell highlights several principles that have been developed and demonstrated to be implemented in any game.

Schell calls his game design perspectives lenses, which are established as an abstractive and universal set of principles that follow the rule of thumb. The subject book features about one hundred perspectives or lenses that are concretely sustained by personal exploration, and all the underlying concepts are explicated by implicating a colloquial approach. According to Schell, “game design is not an exact science” (Schell, xxix). Rather, it is an art that needs to be discovered by considering the depth of both areas of study.

Throughout chapter three, titled “The Experience Rises out of a Game,” Schell attempts to establish interconnectivity between the essential experience and the designer. For this purpose, Schell scaffolds the links between both, including the game. Furthermore, he borrowed the definitions of interlinked concepts and objects from different designers, popular conceptions, and theorists. Schell also elaborates on a myriad of topics, including playing, fun, and toys, before jumping to the conclusion of his proposition. Further, he asserts that “a game is a problem-solving activity which approached through a playful attitude.” (Schell, 37) He also defines that “Play is manipulation that indulges curiosity.” (Schell, 30) Throughout the definitions and explanations provided by Schell, he aims to affirm the significance of pursuing the rule of thumbs because they are more pragmatic and practical guidelines than ontology.

In chapter four, which is named “The Game Consists of Elements,” Schell focuses on the term “game” and argues that the subject word is comprised of four underlying elements that, in turn, supplement its overall structures. Such constituents include Story, Technology, Mechanics, and Aesthetics. Suppose a novice or expert game maker analyzes the framework of a game. In that case, it will become evident that no one can ever cook a delicious and captivating game without these ingredients. Mechanics refers to the processes that devise the rules for a game, and the story is the series that gradually unfolds the overall sequence of the game. On the other hand, aesthetics is the appearance, feel, and visual quality of the game that, in turn, allows a gamer to experience the tastes, smell, and texture of the atmosphere he is playing within. Meanwhile, Schell defines technology as not based on high technological approaches; instead, it is about the interactions and materials that are used to convert the concept of the game from paper to lasers or other related technologies.

Cumulatively, Schell addresses these elements as “Elemental tetrad” (Schell, 41) and states that these provided components are the glue that binds the game and establishes integration between its conceptual and visual framework. These four gears are indispensable to creating a good game because each complements and sustains the other and attains a mutual objective. To further elucidate the mechanism, Schell evaluates an arcade game named Space Invaders, which, in today’s ultra-technological era, is taken as a classic game. He defines technology as the parameters of this conventional game. At the same time, its aesthetics equip it with noticeable sound effects that, in turn, make it distinctive from all other predecessor games. Schell concludes chapter four by stressing the necessity of a game designer to possess a holographic vision so they can imagine and visualize the prospective game through the mentioned four perspectives. It is also evident that all these four components collectively facilitate gamers with an explicit gaming experience.


Rollings, A., & Adams, E. (2003). Andrew Rollings And Ernest Adams On Game Design.
Indianapolis, Ind.: New Riders.

Schell, J. (2008). The Art Of Game Design A Book Of Lenses. San Francisco, CA: Morgan



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