September 13, 2012

Modes of Thinking

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This post remains one of my favorites, and presents a framework for understanding how different games make us think differently.  The logic of the "modes of thinking"  still holds up well (I think so anyway!) and I often circle back to the diagram when thinking about a new game and where it fits. Enjoy! (June 25, 2014)

Often I find that attempting to write a blog post about one thing ends up leading to half a dozen other lines of inquiry, muddling the whole intent and clarity of the initial proposition. Most recently, I’ve been struggling to write a post about game collections and ways in which one might define unique “niches” within their collection that satisfy the requirements of particular (and preferred) gaming situations.

While no doubt that magnum opus will land on my blog eventually, in the meantime I want to consider one of the side roads of inquiry I found myself rambling along; specifically, the idea of “modes of thinking” in games. By modes of thinking, I mean what kind of thoughts/decisions/considerations do players need to make in a game and what are the associated mental resources?
In part, this concept was attempt to combine two traits under consideration in the game genome project; genre (as defined and explored by Selywth’s alternative classification system) and player skills, the individual faculties that are called upon when playing a game. In exploring various ways of grouping genres/skills, I came upon the broad of idea of “modes of thinking” as a way to understand the relative balance of skills that are required in different types of games, and by association what typical genres tend to be aligned with a particular set of skills and mode of thinking.