in 2004

As pop culture, games are as important as film or television-but game design has yet to develop a theoretical framework or critical vocabulary. In Rules of Play Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman present a much-needed primer for this emerging field. They offer a unified model for looking at all kinds of games, from board games and sports to computer and video games. Active participants in game culture, the authors wrote Rules of Play as a catalyst for game design innovation, filling it with concepts, strategies, and methodologies for creating and understanding games.

Building an aesthetics of interactive systems, Salen and Zimmerman define core concepts such as “play”, “design”, and “interactivity”. They look at games through a series of eighteen “game design schemas”, or conceptual frameworks, including games as systems of information and emergent complexity, as contexts for social play and storytelling, and as sites of cultural ideology and resistance.

Authors: Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman
Editor: The MIT Press

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