What are game-elements? (pacman as reference)

06/09/2011 10:29

While trying to figure out what is said  by experts (check this post) to be the ultimate collection of game-elements I decided to visualize my findings via the so often used game (metafoor on itself) Pacman.

Suggested game elements: Unreal/fantasy, context, identity, control, score, goal, challenge, interaction, rules, feedback, chance, competition, curiosity/mystery/exploration/discovery, engagement, sensory stimuli, freedom, social binding, unproductive

Unreal/fantasy: Toru Iwatani mentioned that the playfield represents the world, the white balls represent weapons, and pacman is trying to secure peace in the world, the ghosts are…
Context: playfield with walls, not so difficult ‘maze’
Identity: player is pacman, who can move around the area and eat
Control: to move pacman on the field with keyboard: up, down, left and right
Score + feedback: pacman eats white balls when running over them
Goal: pacman/you needs to finish all balls in the field(s)
Challenge: stay alive. The ghosts are your enemy trying to keep you from eating, avoid them ghosts, they will gradually appear from their home and increase the challenge to avoid them (Dynamic Difficulty).
Exploration, discovery: Trial and error learning skills: Pacman has 3 lives to spare (lose) before the game is over.
Strategy: When Pacman eats a specific ball, he will have powers (temporarily) to eat the ghost. Sometime good to chase, sometimes better run!
(Bonus)score + feedback + curiosity + challenge: Get extra score from eating the fruits appearing on places
When you managed to clear ‚’this world’, a next world- more challenging will occur…. [ only very few people in the world really did a ‘perfect play’, there is a challenge..! ]
Interaction/rules: Pacman moves via keyboards around in the defined ‘world’, he can not walk through ‘walls’. When pacman touches a white ball, it will disappear which means he scores. When a ghost touches pacman, he will disappear or loose a live, when a bigger ball is eaten by pacman, he is able to chase and eat the ghost, they will temporarily ‘disappear’ and go to their ‘homebase’.
Feedback: Soundeffects ‚”pac-pac-pac” is actually feedback: “yes,yes, yes!” or “score! score! score!” visually disappearing of the ‘food’. Appearance ghosts change when role of chaser and hunted object are switched. Score is given in numbers at the top.
Chance: the ghost are relativly ‘clever’ in following you, each colored ghost has a different personality or cleverness or strategy in following you as player this is experienced as partially (next to skill) ‘luck’ in meeting the ghost and escaping from him/her. (Blinky, Pinky, Inky, Clyde)
Competition: you are competing in the game with the ghosts, out the game in your ranking, many people experience competition with themselves strongly, the desire to progress/improve.
Engagement: I will and can do better this/next time!
Curiosity/mystery/exploration/discovery: what will happen when I’ll clean up all balls?
Sensory stimuli: bright colors, audio effect lovely and irritating, fast pacing animation creates a funny and joyfull experience, score feedback or bonus score are exiting to experience.
Freedom: Player can stop whenever he/she wants to stop, nobody forced me to play this game
Social binding: maybe bit far searched in this game but; ‘to save the world?’ ; ) this game is a rather solo experience, except the competition element, then later pacman became so well know, and so popular als a cult and hype, that it became a social binder just to talk about the experiencing and remembering the game.
Unproductive: player does not gain money by playing
Sympathy: everybody loves pacman as a hero, he became a rolmodel, continued to be a hype for many years…

more about Pacman on Wikipedia…or just play the game online to experience the game elements.


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