Uncertainty in games [electronic resource] /
Greg Costikyan.
Cambridge, Massachusetts : MIT Press, [2013]
viii, 141 pages ; 21 cm.
9780262018968 (hardcover : alk. paper)
More Details
Cambridge, Massachusetts : MIT Press, [2013]
9780262018968 (hardcover : alk. paper)
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2013-05-01:
Award-winning game designer and author Costikyan (Toon: The Cartoon Rolepaying Game) supports his opening definition of "uncertainty" with examples anyone can relate to: whether you can pay your bills; whether the person you love loves you back, etc. This uncomplicated approach dominates the text and accommodates even those readers who have never heard of game theory. Costikyan covers video, board, card, and playground games such as rock-paper-scissors (with an emphasis on video games). Sports are not covered. He is one of the few game designers to explain how uncertainty in games engages players and keeps them playing. But he doesn't stop there. He also labels the types of uncertainty in games-performative uncertainty, player unpredictability, and narrative anticipation, to name a few-and explains how each one works with familiar examples such as Super Mario Bros. and Magic: The Gathering. His clarity ensures that readers don't have to be familiar with a particular game to understand the concept it demonstrates. VERDICT An excellent introduction to the world of game studies for anyone interested in how games work.-Paul Stenis, Pepperdine Univ. Lib., Malibu, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review Quotes
"Greg Costikyan is a true veteran of the game industry. His career spans the earliestonline videogames, tabletop role-playing games and wargames, and recent Facebook and casual hits. Uncertainty in Games puts Costikyan's considerable experience and pointedintellect to good use. The result is some of the most insightful, accessible, and witty writingabout games in recent memory. There is one thing I have no uncertainty about: my game designstudents will be reading Uncertainty in Games ." -- EricZimmerman , independent game designer & founding faculty, NYU Game Center
"Once again, Greg Costikyan has given us an original and insightful angle on game design. In a world inundated with overwrought megabytes about fun, graphics, and immersion, Costikyan shows that an analysis of the role of uncertainty in games sheds important light on the process of game design. This book should be required reading for game designers." -- Chris Crawford , former head of Atari's Games Research Group, and founder of the Game Developers Conference
" Uncertainty in Games is sure to provide readers of all stripesmany satisfying 'Aha!' moments. For gamers, those might take the form of ' That 'swhy I got hooked on Game X.' For developers, there's a wealth of specific advice for providingdeeper, more surprising experiences. Academics will discover new tools of critical analysis rootedin the unique perspective of a hands-on game designer. Even publishers will find insights into howbetter to retain players and monetize them more effectively. In this brief, easy read, Costikyantruly does offer something for everyone." -- Warren Spector , award-winningveteran game developer
"Until now, uncertainty has been a shadowy concept in the world of game design; hardto put a finger on, hard to pin down. In this incisive text, rich with examples, Greg Costikyancaptures uncertainty, dissects it, analyzes it, then miraculously brings it back to life and sets itfree, all in the name of showing us what uncertainty truly is: the secret force that makes us lovegames." -- Jesse Schell , Carnegie Mellon University; CEO, Schell Games
This item was reviewed in:
PW Annex Reviews, March 2013
Library Journal, May 2013
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Bowker Data Service Summary
In this concise and entertaining book, Costikyan, an award-winning game designer, argues that games require uncertainty to hold our interest, and that the struggle to master uncertainty is central to their appeal.
Main Description
In life, uncertainty surrounds us. Things that we thought were good for us turn outto be bad for us (and vice versa); people we thought we knew well behave in mysterious ways; thestock market takes a nosedive. Thanks to an inexplicable optimism, most of the time we are fairlycheerful about it all. But we do devote much effort to managing and ameliorating uncertainty. Is itany wonder, then, asks Greg Costikyan, that we have taken this aspect of our lives and transformedit culturally, making a series of elaborate constructs that subject us to uncertainty but in afictive and nonthreatening way? That is: we create games. In this concise and entertaining book,Costikyan, an award-winning game designer, argues that games require uncertainty to hold ourinterest, and that the struggle to master uncertainty is central to their appeal. Game designers, hesuggests, can harness the idea of uncertainty to guide their work. Costikyan explores the manysources of uncertainty in many sorts of games -- from Super Mario Bros. to Rock/Paper/Scissors , from Monopoly to CityVille , from FPS Deathmatch play to Chess . He describestypes of uncertainty, including performative uncertainty, analytic complexity, and narrativeanticipation. And he suggest ways that game designers who want to craft novel game experiences canuse an understanding of game uncertainty in its many forms to improve their designs.
Table of Contents
Series Forewordp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Games and Culturep. 3
Uncertaintyp. 9
Analyzing Gamesp. 17
Sources of Uncertaintyp. 71
Game Design Considerationsp. 105
Conclusionp. 113
Notesp. 115
Ludographyp. 119
Indexp. 123
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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