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  • Engaging Players Through Ritual

    - Brandon Franklin

  • Red Dead Redemption 2

    Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game about being an outlaw in the old west. You have an outlaw crew and they live in a camp. This game lets you run around, rob people, kill everything, go shopping, have a shave, clean your weapons, and upgrade things.

    The part I'm most interested in is that you cannot run in the camp. Normally you can sprint and jump around like a jackass, but once you're in camp... you're walking. Why would a game about letting you do whatever you want whenever you want force you to walk around these outlaws?

    They want you to treat these people like people, they want you to examine the useful elements of the camp, and they want you to think about where you're going in camp instead of just running around to bump into whatever catches your attention the most. This ritual of walking around makes you treat this part of the game the way the designer wants you too, like it's a group of outlaws you collaborate and live with.

    Breath of the Wild

    Breath of the Wild is a game about being a savior to a world well past its prime after you previously failed to save it. You can climb, glide, fight, explore, solve puzzles, and cook.

    The cooking in this game is a wild mix between crafting systems, inventory management, and exploration.

    You go into your menu and add edible items to your hands. Each item you add shows Link, the player character, holding them in a big pile in his arms. Then you leave the menu while Link is still holding all the items and chose where to drop all those items you're holding. If you drop them in a cooking pot then an upbeat instrumental song plays ending with a triumphant stringer as you find out what that pile of items turned into. Now you have a new meal with properties based on the ingredients.

    They want you to explore, experiment, examine, learn, and apply what you know by breaking up what could just be a button press in the menu. You are treating the world like it's there, the menu is a way to organize your actions not replace them. This promotes all of these pillars for the game and even makes them an easy, fun experience for the player.


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