Elegant – adj. – Pleasingly ingenious and simple.
When gaming, a player uses two types of thinking: Fun thinking and work thinking. Fun thinking, the type we love using when playing games, includes; planning strategies, solving puzzles, and basically trying our best to win. Work thinking, which is the kind of thinking that takes away from the gaming experience, includes; remembering complex rules, maintaining the functions of the game, and tracking the elements of the game so it works.
Fun thinking is what draws us into games. Work thinking is the barrier to entry that must be overcome. If the work is greater than the fun, players will not feel the game is worth the effort. If the work is minimal enough and the fun great enough you have achieved elegance.
So how can we minimize work thinking in games and let players get to the fun more easily? The following are things to think about during design, development, and production to make your games more elegant.
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I’d like to thank Phoebos Stergiou from Hercules Game Studios, Odin Phong, C.M. Perry, and Rick Lorenzon for their feedback on this article.