Thursday, March 29

Game Design Journal

Game design is a deep subject. Like medicine or theology, game design is best understood when researched and studied. This is the primary purpose of this blog. But no one blog nor an amalgam of them can reveal all there is to know about game design. It is a dynamic subject that can be observed from a variety of perspectives. One perspective I propose today is a Game Design Journal. This is a diary in which you pen all of your musings, exasperations, and conclusions on game design. No doubt many of you already make note of your random game design thoughts, possibly on spare scraps of paper. I think this is a wonderful thing to do. If you already are, keep it up. If your not, or if your looking to expand or organize your notes, then please read onward.

I've recently been wanting to journal specifically about my personal game experiences. This is the way it works. When playing a game, any game, (regardless of whether its lauded for excellence or mocked for its mediocrity) mentally note the various aspects that you find appealing or effective. Also, note things that you find appaling or ineffective. Ask yourself questions like the following: Why is blank part of this game cool? What does the art style do to compliment the game? How do the controls work, could they be better? Why do I like blank character? Then, ask more specific questions: Why did Retro Studios opt for their control scheme in Metroid Prime? How do the enemies in this game challenge me, through skill, problem-solving or some other way? What things are good or bad about Final Fantasy XII's license system?

Undoubtedly, these will prompt more and more questions and push you to ponder things you never thought mattered. I would recommend the journal to be simple. A handy pen and notepad works fine. As does a basic .txt document. You may never go back and read these entries, but other things are at work. Simply writing your thoughts forces you to think harder about any given topic. Also, the act of writing will strengthen your memory considerably, creating a greater imprint of the game design topics than otherwise only thinking of them. Lastly, games themselves are not the only thing that represent game design. Don't be afraid to think abstractly. I feel many seemingly unrelated topics can easily be applied to game design. Biking, the time/space continuum, how your stereo works, all of these are viable subjects for provoking thoughts on design theory, in the same way articles on game design do.

Have fun exploring the vast reaches of game design theory and the infinite possiblites it offers.

Gnome Warlock Shop by Harald Oesterle at Blizzard Fan Art


  1. Hi Finn,

    Nice work, and I can see you've been busy.

    Always a pleasure to visit your site.

    You were on last week's list of Aussiejourno's Weekly Blog Awards, so don't forget to check the latest list in a few hours.



  2. I want to tell you that It is a dynamic subject that can be observed from a variety of perspectives. One perspective I propose today is a Game Design Journal.
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