Redefining Game Genres!

This week’s gaming topic were about game genres and the three dimensions of games, mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics.

Mechanics are the rules and systems that create the play we experience, its rules, the actions the played can take in the game, the algorithms and data structure in the game engine.

Dynamics are the experiential play those mechanics create that we engage in, the running and gunning in an FPS.

Aesthetics are the reasons that we go to that game for, the emotional responses evoked in the player.

The gamers and designers view these dimensions opposite from one another; the gamers view the aesthetics in the game, while the designers start from the mechanics and build their way up, this can lead the designers to focus too much on the mechanics that they forget to think about the aesthetics of play they are trying to deliver.

Now about the genres of games and why they need to be redefined.

In movies and plays, we define the genres by the underlying motive reason that we go to that genre for, comedy, drama or action. However, with games we lump every game that are similar into the same genre. Take First-person shooter as an example, this genre is defined by the fact that it has a first-person camera that involves shooting, which is ridiculous. Games like Portal and Fallout are two completely different games, yet they are both in the first-person shooter genre, because they both share the same mechanic, but have completely different aesthetics. Therefore, we should stop categorizing the games after their mechanics and rather looking to the aesthetics to define out genres.

There are nine types of aesthetics:

  1. Sensation (Game as sense-pleasure): Player experiences something completely unfamiliar. A game you play for the visuals or the music.
  2. Fantasy (Game as make-believe): Imaginary world.
  3. Narrative (Game as drama): A story that drives the player to keep coming back
  4. Challenge (Game as obstacle course): Urge to master something. Boosts a game’s replayability. This is not the same as difficulty.
  5. Fellowship (Game as social framework): A community where the player is an active part of it. Multiplayer games where the multiplayer part is of great importance.
  6. Competition (Game as expression if dominance): Urge to demonstrate superiority over others.
  7. Discovery (Game as uncharted territory): Urge to explore game world.
  8. Expression (Game as self-discovery): Own creativity. Expressing some aspect of yourself.
  9. Abnegation (Game as pastime): Lets you zone out and disengage.

I forgot to post #dda187 Explore the Firelit Room, but I did play it for more than I thought I would… It was actually a fun narrative game and I encourage you all to try it.


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