The featured content is organized in several ways. Each article falls under at least 1 of the 12 categories below.
Mechanics: Player actions that comprise gameplay.
Level Elements: Objects and obstacles that generally have some level of physicality and do not “harm” the player.
Enemy Elements: Objects and obstacles that do harm the player.
Power-UP / Upgrade / Economy: Any type of power-up, experience point, currency, or upgradable ability. The variable and likely optional suite of elements that enhance the player experience. Includes “power-downs” and “down-grades.”
System / Rules: High score systems, combo systems, and other more abstract aspects of games.
Level Design: The arrangement of gameplay elements to create specific challenges and experiences.
Feedback: How information is conveyed to the player. Mostly involves visual design. Also include audio and tactile design.
Design Space: The range and variety of elements within a game; Also how these elements work for or against each other. Includes the sub-topics of balance and depth.
Difficulty Design: Covers the type and range of skill possible for a game in general and for specific gameplay challenges. Uses the DKART skill system (dexterity, knowledge, adaptation, reflex, timing).
Modes / Features: A game’s modes, options, and non-gameplay features such as save systems.
Story: Setting, characters, plot, theme, and the arrangement of these elements to convey events through time.
Design: A catch-all for articles that cover multiple topics or fall outside of the above categories.
Point of View
The articles are written from a particular point of view (POV).
- Designer: focused on how a game or story works and the parts that are necessary to achieve a certain effect
- Journalist: focused on the experiences and feelings of the audience. Can also depict the story of the people behind a work.
- Academic: focused on analyzing and critiquing the method by which we talk about games and the far-reaching application of games study and thought.
- Player: focused on understanding a game for the purpose of playing more effectively or getting more enjoyment out of a game through playing better/differently.
Level of Difficulty
The difficulty of each article tries to capture the level of specific the knowledge of the reader must have to get the full meaning of the article:
- A general audience can get the full value of the article.
- The audience needs to have experienced games to follow along.
- The audience needs to have played a game(s) in the same genre(s).
- The audience needs to have played the specific games mentioned.
- The audience needs to be deeply familiar with the discourse, terminology, play, or design facts of a specific game.
Level of Conversation
The Level information is a way of demarcating where this article fits into the conversation. We use a binumeral system similar to Super Mario Bros. The first number indicates prior significant contributions to exploring a subject or theme. The second number reflects the number of prior short comments and responses that have been published. For example:
- Level 1 – 1 would be the first article in a series.
- Level 1 – 4 would be the 3rd short comment, question, or critique posted in response to article 1 – 1. The “4” would be a hyperlink to the previous comment in the series (e.g. 1 – 3).
- Level 2 – 1 would be a significant feature article written that continues exploring the subject established in 1 – 1. The “2” would be a hyperlink to the previous featured article.