Video games are heavily influenced by real life games like tag, cops and robbers, and sports. Game developers can always feel safe when they mimic these time tested games. One of the oldest and most time-tested of these is the game of pretend.
Pretending is the foundation of role-playing. Most games have some form of role-play in the design. This is not a coincidence. When players role-play or pretend, they feel a connection to the game. It is within that connection that experience is best communicated.
I have found this wonder article by a wonderful game designer in which Mary Hamilton talks about her experience with designing larping games. Larps or Live-Action-Role-Play is when several people pretend together with rules. Mary brought up the challenge of getting adults to suspend their disbelief and get emerged in the world. This struck a cord with me because all game designers have the very same challenge. I would like to propose a solution this problem which I believe is universal, a good introduction.
In writing, Introduction have always served as a gateway into another world. The hook which pulls you out of the water. The solution to every game design problem isn’t always within the game field. Game designers can’t limit themselves to studying just game design. Let me end this in Mary’s words.
“Live games are a hugely diverse and growing field, with a lot of experimentation going on – much like most other forms of game right now. But the main objectives for most games are remarkably similar to those for video games: make a fun experience through playful, fair mechanics, and often give players a story to explore or to create themselves. We share a vast common set of ideas and systems with video game designers – from social game structures and collaborative systems that encourage altruism to emergent and procedural design. Getting away from the controller is just another way to play.”