I have always thought of myself as a gamer with a diverse taste. So when I came across an exercise in Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games that challenged readers to define the types of games they like by objective, it seemed like a chance to test this perception of myself. Before I made a list of the games I like and their objectives, I speculated that there would be some similarities, but the biggest thing that would stand out would the differences between games. The following table shows 10 games I enjoy, a description of their main objectives, and the categories those objectives fall into.
|Game||Main Objective||Objective Type|
|The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim||Finish quests, clear dungeons, and explore the open world||Capture, Exploration|
|Minecraft||Build using resources gathered from exploring the world||Construction, Exploration|
|Cards Against Humanity||Collect the most black cards by coming up with the funniest card combination||Outwit|
|The Sims 4||Simulate life and create buildings||Construction|
|Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures||Complete levels by defeating enemies and solving puzzles||Capture, Solution|
|Sid Meier’s Civilization VI||Become the most powerful civilization via culture, religion, science, or military||Capture, Construction|
|Mahjong Master||Clear the board by matching tiles||Alignment|
|Assassin’s Creed II||Complete levels and missions using stealth and combat||Capture|
|Tennis||When the ball is hit to you, hit it back at your opponent||Forbidden Act|
|Bar Trivia||Work with a team to correctly answer questions about pop culture||Outwit|
One of the things that struck me when compiling this list was the difficulty in narrowing down objective type. Many of the games have minor objectives or gameplay elements that could be classified as a sperate objective type. For example, in Minecraft there are monsters players can combat (i.e. capture objective), and in Assassin’s Creed II there are side missions involving chasing targets (i.e. chase objective). I also found it difficult for some of the games to pinpoint what objective category they fall into. With tennis I originally thought it fell into the capture objective, but after reviewing Fullerton’s descriptions of objective types I decided it was more in line with forbidden act. This is because the rules of tennis impose physical limitations that players must follow (e.g. don’t go into the opponents area or go over foul lines, hit the ball towards you opponent, etc.), which I felt made it more akin to the examples Fullerton gives for forbidden act objectives (e.g. Twister, Don’t Break the Ice) and her description of them as “involving stamina or flexibility, and sometimes just plain chance.” (Fullerton 71)
Based on the results of this exercise I feel that although the games I choose are diverse in their objectives, as was expected. However, upon reflecting as to why I gravitate towards these games, I found that it was not because of my desire to play a diverse range of games. Instead, I’m drawn to each of these games because of my desire to be creative, explore, and use my intelligence to solve problems. Even when I play a physical activity based game like tennis, my strategy to beat my opponent is to study their body language and moves to find a weak spot I can exploit. I take a similar approach when playing games that are primarily capture based, like Assassin’s Creed II and Skyrim. Another similarity I noticed was that most of the games have more than one type of main objective, as well as minor objectives of various types. My preference for games that are not unanimous in their objective I think reflects a larger trend in gaming, by both players and game designers, towards more dynamic and diverse gameplay by way of multiple different objectives.
This post is based on Exercise 3.4: Objectives (“List ten of your favorite games and name the objective for each. Do you see any similarities in these games? Try to define the type or types of games that appeal to you.”) from Chapter 3 of Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games by Tracy Fullerton (quote taken from pg. 73).
Assassin’s Creed II. Montreal: Ubisoft, 2009. Video Game.
Dillon, Josh et al. Cards Against Humanity. Chicago, IL: Cards Against Humanity LLC, 2011. Card Game.
Fullerton, Tracy. “Chapter 3: Working with Formal Game Elements” Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games. 4th ed., Taylor & Francis Group LLC, 2019. PDF.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Bethesda, MD: Bethesda Game Studios, 2011. Video Game.
Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures. San Francisco, CA: LucasArts, 2008. Video Game.
Mahjong Master. GB Games, 2013. Android App.
Minecraft. Stockholm: Mojang Studios, 2011. Video Game.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. New York, NY: 2K Games, 2016. Video Game.
The Sims 4. Redwood City, CA: Electronic Arts, 2014. Video Game.