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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Joy

    - staff
  •  In his latest Designer's Notebook column, longtime Gamastura columnist and design consultant Ernest Adams discusses the idea of creating games purely to bring joy to players.

    Joy, he argues, is distinct from "fun", and all too often squashed out of games by complicated themes and boring, repetitive, or overly difficult gameplay

    Adams writes:

    But isn't joy just fun by another name? Not quite. Joy is unmixed pleasure. Fun is more complicated. It can include the dark and dangerous. People think it's fun to go to horror movies, but horror movies don't elicit joy. Entertainment is richer still; it doesn't have to be fun at all. Serious movies such as Schindler's List and serious books such as Lolita aren't fun, much less joyful, but they are entertaining. Video games seem to be stuck in the middle.

    What kills joy? Almost anything, really; it's fragile. [...] Marching kills joy: Grinding. Frustration. Repetition. So does negativity: Ugliness. Cruelty. Fear. Death. These are qualities we associate with hardcore games and with games made for teenage boys, to whom joy is a distinctly uncool emotion.

    Game Career Guide challenged its readers to design a game centered around bringing joy to players. What follows are the best and most original entries we received. Here are our top picks.

    Best Entries

    Dean Ray Johnson, Legend of the Mooks (see page 2)

    Aaron Yip, Student at Georgia Institute of Technology, Our Song (see page 3)

    Emily Greenquist, Student at Tribeca Flashpoint, My Palace (see page 4)

    Ryan George (Design), Elise Motzny (Art), Tucker Williams (Design & Audio), Game Development Students at Columbia College Chicago, Illuminate (see page 5)

    Honorable Mentions

    Madeline Henderson, Game Design Major at Montgomery College, Seed (see page 6)
    José Francisco Arias Pérez, Designer for Tlacuacho Estudio, Little dancer searches for the Moon (see page 7)
    Kiera Whalen, Montclair High School Student, In the Park (see page 8)
    Camila Carvalho, Student of S.a.g.a - School of Art, Game and Animation, The Way of Music (see page 9)


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