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In life, uncertainty surrounds us. Things that we thought were good for us turn outto be bad for us (and vice versa); people we thought we knew well behave in mysterious ways; thestock market takes a nosedive. Thanks to an inexplicable optimism, mos......more
In life, uncertainty surrounds us. Things that we thought were good for us turn outto be bad for us (and vice versa); people we thought we knew well behave in mysterious ways; thestock market takes a nosedive. Thanks to an inexplicable optimism, most of the time we are fairlycheerful about it all. But we do devote much effort to managing and ameliorating uncertainty. Is itany wonder, then, asks Greg Costikyan, that we have taken this aspect of our lives and transformedit culturally, making a series of elaborate constructs that subject us to uncertainty but in afictive and nonthreatening way? That is: we create games. In this concise and entertaining book,Costikyan, an award-winning game designer, argues that games require uncertainty to hold ourinterest, and that the struggle to master uncertainty is central to their appeal. Game designers, hesuggests, can harness the idea of uncertainty to guide their work. Costikyan explores the manysources of uncertainty in many sorts of games -- from Super Mario Bros. toRock/Paper/Scissors, from Monopoly toCityVille, from FPS Deathmatch play to Chess. He describestypes of uncertainty, including performative uncertainty, analytic complexity, and narrativeanticipation. And he suggest ways that game designers who want to craft novel game experiences canuse an understanding of game uncertainty in its many forms to improve their designs.
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