The Game Design Reader

A Rules of Play Anthology

by Katie Salen Tekinbaş and Eric Zimmerman

ISBN: 9780262330510 | Copyright 2005

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The Game Design Reader is a one-of-a-kind collection on game design and criticism, from classic scholarly essays to cutting-edge case studies. A companion work to Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman's textbook Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals , The Game Design Reader is a classroom sourcebook, a reference for working game developers, and a great read for game fans and players.

Thirty-two essays by game designers, game critics, game fans, philosophers, anthropologists, media theorists, and others consider fundamental questions: What are games and how are they designed? How do games interact with culture at large? What critical approaches can game designers take to create game stories, game spaces, game communities, and new forms of play?

Salen and Zimmerman have collected seminal writings that span 50 years to offer a stunning array of perspectives. Game journalists express the rhythms of game play, sociologists tackle topics such as role-playing in vast virtual worlds, players rant and rave, and game designers describe the sweat and tears of bringing a game to market. Each text acts as a springboard for discussion, a potential class assignment, and a source of inspiration. The book is organized around fourteen topics, from The Player Experience to The Game Design Process, from Games and Narrative to Cultural Representation. Each topic, introduced with a short essay by Salen and Zimmerman, covers ideas and research fundamental to the study of games, and points to relevant texts within the Reader. Visual essays between book sections act as counterpoint to the writings.

Like Rules of Play , The Game Design Reader is an intelligent and playful book. An invaluable resource for professionals and a unique introduction for those new to the field, The Game Design Reader is essential reading for anyone who takes games seriously.

Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman have done a great service to the academic community with their well-composed and highly usable work. With all these key texts now conveniently accessible, there is one reason less to postpone setting up game-studies courses and degrees.

Frans Mäyrä Hypermedia Laboratory, University of Tampere, Finland, and President, Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA)P
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Contents (pg. vi)
Foreword (pg. x)
Preface (pg. xvi)
1 Interstitial: How to Win "Super Mario Bros" (pg. xxvii)
Topic Essays (pg. xxix)
The Player Experience (pg. 2)
The Rules of a Game (pg. 8)
Gaming the Game (pg. 14)
The Game Design Process (pg. 20)
Player and Character (pg. 26)
Games and Narrative (pg. 32)
Game Communities (pg. 38)
Speaking of Games (pg. 44)
Game Design Models (pg. 52)
Game Economics (pg. 58)
Game Spaces (pg. 64)
Cultural Representation (pg. 70)
What is a Game? (pg. 76)
What is Play? (pg. 82)
2 Interstitial: Cosplay (pg. 88)
Texts: Bibliography (pg. 90)
Source of Original Publication (pg. 91)
Chart of Texts and Topics (pg. 93)
3 Interstitial: Urban Invasion (pg. 94)
Nature and Significance of Play as a Cultural Phenomenon (pg. 96)
The Definition of Play and The Classification of Games (pg. 122)
Shoot Club (pg. 156)
4 Interstitial: Collateral Romance (pg. 170)
Construction of a Definition (pg. 172)
I Have No Words & I Must Design (pg. 192)
The Cabal (pg. 212)
5 Interstitial: Urban Games (pg. 226)
Semiotic Domains (pg. 228)
The Evil Summoner FAQ v1.0 (pg. 268)
Play and Ambiguity (pg. 296)
A Theory of Play and Fantasy (pg. 314)
Complete Freedom of Movement (pg. 330)
6 Interstitial: DDR Step Charts (pg. 364)
Formal Abstract Design Tools (pg. 366)
Game Theory (pg. 382)
Games and Design Patterns (pg. 410)
Tools for Creating Dramatic Game Dynamics (pg. 438)
Game Analysis (pg. 460)
7 Interstitial: Indie Game Jam (pg. 474)
Unwritten Rules (pg. 476)
Beyond the Rules of the Game (pg. 504)
Changing the Game (pg. 518)
The Design Evolution of Magic (pg. 538)
8 Interstitial: Blast Theory (pg. 556)
Eyeball and Cathexis (pg. 558)
Frames and Games (pg. 578)
Bow, Nigger (pg. 602)
Cultural Models (pg. 610)
9 Interstitial: Red vs. Blue (pg. 640)
Interaction and Narrative (pg. 642)
Game Design as Narrative Architecture (pg. 670)
Adventure as a Video Game (pg. 690)
Eastern Front (1941) (pg. 714)
10 Interstitial: Serious Games (pg. 726)
The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat (pg. 728)
Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades (pg. 754)
Declaring the Rights of Players (pg. 788)
Virtual Worlds (pg. 814)
11 Interstitial: Painstation (pg. 864)
Coda (pg. 866)
12 Interstitial: Le Parkour (pg. 870)
Interstitial Credits (pg. 872)
Index (pg. 876)
Final Word (pg. 924)
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