• 2022
  • 2023
Understanding Systems Suspense

Why is it fun to learn the rules of a videogame? Not just to play the game, but to learn it; to travel from the state of unknowing to knowing, to be surprised when a revelation subverts your expectations, to play in a state of suspense?

Game Design Strategies to Support Nurturers

Some players want to nurture.  These players enjoy the act of taking care of something or someone. They gain pleasure from seeing their efforts (appear to) cause their nurturing target to thrive, grow, and/or recover. In multiplayer games, these efforts might target actual people, but in this paper we’re specifically focusing on serving the players that try to nurture non-players: plants, creatures, humans, or even inanimate objects.

A Toolkit for Encouraging Player Stories

Players play games, and when things go right, they tell compelling stories about their play experiences. Sometimes these stories even become community legends. This report looks to identify the conditions that player stories are likely to flower under and proposes a toolkit of design moves to help seed the soil. It also opens the question of how player stories might be folded back into the game itself, and what the tradeoffs are for doing so.