What Makes a Game a Game?

At the start of our recent Game Design classes this week, I asked students to reflect on this question: What makes a game, a game? What is needed to make a video game?

Among their ideas were

  • A game needs to have a goal
  • Games need a “just right” challenge
    • if it’s too challenging it becomes frustrating
    • if there is too little challenge, then the game is boring
    • either way, no one likes to play frustrating or boring games…
  • Games have stories or themes
  • Games have controls
  • Games need instructions

It’s important for me to have these ideas in their minds before they start to make their own games at the end of our unit. Game designers are cognizant of all these necessary elements, while also trying to use their computer programming skills to bring their games to life.

Here are there notes from one of the classes that week.


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