Designing Player Intent through “Playful” Interaction: A Case Study of Techniques in Transistor and Journey

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Abstract

This essay discusses two examples of game design techniques present in Transistor by Supergiant Games and Journey by thatgamecompany. It considers how the design of “playful” interactions between the player and other characters in the game world (both non-player characters and other player characters) can be used as a tool to align a player’s experience of “intent” with the thematic objectives of the designer. These games have been selected as both utilise design techniques that allow for this “playful” interaction (observed in this essay as interactions that do not contribute to “progression” in the traditional sense). By looking closely at specific aspects of game design, it aims to develop an accessible examination by “focusing on the dimensions of involvement the specific game or genre of games affords” (Calleja, 222). This exploratory essay suggests that examining these small but impactful design techniques, through the lens of their contribution to overall intent, is a useful tool for undertaking more holistic studies of how games are affective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalM-C : A Journal of Media and Culture
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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