“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 chapter three and four from Jesse Schell’s 2008 book named “The Art Of Game Designing: A Book Of Lenses.” It is a manual-style book that is aimed to teach the readers to become an improved video game designer. Throughout the book, Schell highlights several principles that are developed and demonstrated to be implemented in any game. Schell calls his game design perspectives as lenses, and these lenses are established in the form of 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 colloquial approach. According to Schell “game design is not an exact science” (Schell, xxix) rather it is an art and therefore needs to be discovered by considering the depth of both areas of study.
Throughout the chapter three which titled as “The Experience Rises out of a Game“; Schell attempts to establish interconnectivity among the essential experience and the designer. For this purpose, Schell scaffolds the links between both, that also includes the game. Furthermore, he borrowed the definitions of interlinked concepts and objects from different designers, popular conceptions as well as theorists. Schell also elaborates myriad of topics that include 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 his provided definitions and explanations; Schell 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 named as “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 supplemented its overall structures. Such constituents include Story, Technology, Mechanics, and Aesthetics. If a novice or expert game maker analyzes the framework of a game, it will become evident to them that in the absence of any of these ingredients no one can ever cook a delicious and captivating game. Mechanics refers to the processes which devise the rules for a game and story is the series which gradually unfolds the overall sequence of the game. On the other hand, aesthetic 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 that technology does not base 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 the lasers or other related technologies.
Cumulatively, Schell addresses these elements as “Elemental tetrad” (Schell, 41) and states that these provided components are the glue which binds the game and establishes integration between its conceptual and visual framework. These four gears are indispensable to create a good game because each of them complements and sustain other and altogether they attain a mutual objective. To further elucidate the mechanism Schell provides an evaluation of arcade game names Space Invaders that in today’s ultra-technological era is taken as a classic game. He defines that in this conventional game technology determines the parameters while 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 could imagine and visualize the prospect game through mentioned four perspectives. It is also evident that all these four components collectively facilitate the 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