• Member Blogs
  • (Video) Game Design: Interesting Decisions versus Wish Fulfillment

(Video) Game Design: Interesting Decisions versus Wish Fulfillment

L Updated
Follow Us
There Will Be Games




Slides from this screencast:


Interesting Decisions


Wish Fulfillment

Dr. Lewis Pulsipher




Another way to look at game design

Insofar as game design is much about thinking…

Dividing/categorizing what game design is about can be fruitful

So we can look at games as:

Those with human opposition vs those without

All math, about people, or about stories

Linear vs “open world”

Mind control vs players make own story

Games vs puzzles

The system and the psychological

Talent vs technique


This time it’s: games as a series of choices  versus games as wish fulfillment

Sid Meier’s classic definition of a game as “a series of interesting choices” versus

Games as wish-fulfillment, as “an experience” (role-play)

AAA video games have enabled the second method

Traditional board and card games lack ways to make something that “feels real” for the player


Wish-fulfillment can still have choice

But in many cases, to implement wish-fulfillment the designer/writer eliminates the larger choices in order to guide a story to a conclusion

As in, say, Mass Effect 3?

Role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons provide the bridge between the two

You can play it either way

Some RP game systems encourage one or the other


Is one way “better?”


“Interesting choices” is the traditional game

“Experiences” is the “new” game

(And puzzles are something else again)

I’ll confess I’m mostly in the choices camp

Yet in D&D I tended to play the game as though it was me in there, not as an actor, so in that respect it was an “experience”


What kind of games do YOU want to make?

There Will Be Games
Log in to comment