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Fabian Fischer's Blog


"The ludological position is that games should be understood on their own terms. Ludologists have proposed that the study of games should concern the analysis of the abstract and formal systems they describe. In other words, the focus of game studies should be on the rules of a game, not on the representational elements which are only incidental." (Wikipedia: Game Studies)

I view games as a medium in the context of society, art, technology and science. My goal is to convey a critical perspective, to provoke thought on a deeper level than just that of a "fun pastime", and thus to contribute to progressing the medium.


Games are a societal phenomenon. With the digitization of the medium, it became ever more accessible. More and more people are playing and the underlyign industry is growing larger and larger. It's the age of "homo ludens".

"First, computer and video games are going to become the predominate form of popular culture interaction in our society. We can watch them get progressively dumbed down or we can see them spread to new people and new niches while retaining their power and complexity. Their spread will make more money for more people, but retaining their power in the act will, I am convinced, make a better and smarter society." (James Paul Gee)

Games are to be understood as a unique form of art, defined by systemic interaction and fundamentally distinct from other media. The game design, the craft of creating a ruleset, is thus of central importance.

"Game design isn’t in code, art, or sound. It’s not in sculpting game pieces or painting game boards. Game design means crafting the rules that make those pieces come alive." (Tynan Sylvester)

Games benefit from modern technology. The digitization and automated enforcement of a ruleset can lead to dramatic efficiency advantages. On the other hand, the danger of misinterpreting the medium is ever-present.

"Human beings have a bit of a bad pattern with technology: when we first unlock a new technology, we never ask whether we should use it. Instead, we tend to use it indiscriminately at first. It’s only afterward, when the technology has become established, that we become more selective in its use." (Keith Burgun)

Games can be better understood by employing scientific research. Especially system theory and psychology provide valuable insights for a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the medium and its effect on human beings.

"The bigger hope is to move our alchemical craft towards the founding of a science of game design. We currently build games through habit, guesswork and slavish devotion to pre-existing form. Building a testable model of game mechanics opens up new opportunities for game balancing, original game design and the broader application of game design to other fields." (Daniel Cook)


I'm currently studying informatics and writing my master thesis on game design and digital game-based learning. I like to think of myself as an artist, critic and information scientist. Until 2009 I also was an active composer and lyricist for several musical projects. Since 2010 I focussed mostly on writing and self-study. My German blog ("Nachtfischers Ludokultur") initially served as a general platform for critical ideas on games, music and other topics. During the last years a strong focus on games, design and ludology emerged. Besides, I regularly publish articles on GamersGlobal.

"It is not the job of artists to give the audience what the audience want. If the audience knew what they needed, then they would not be the audience; they would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need." (Alan Moore)


Member Blogs

Posted by Fabian Fischer on Wed, 08 Oct 2014 01:34:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC
Even highly replayable games of skill aren't infinitely interesting. But when does the fun stop? When does the player decide to stop playing? This article takes a closer look at this decision process in the context of elegance, depth and efficiency.

Fabian Fischer's Comments

Comment In: [News - 10/23/2014 - 09:47]

It 's funny that the ...

It 's funny that the products promoted as brain training games do a much worse job at actually training our brains than actual strategy games. After all, the latter DO require that planning, problem-solving and decision-making that you won 't get if you 're just doing a bunch of seperate ...

Comment In: [Blog - 10/22/2014 - 03:19]

It doesn 't push the ...

It doesn 't push the boundaries OF GAMES, though. It 's just about thematic boundaries. That 's sad

Comment In: [Blog - 10/15/2014 - 02:02]

The causal chain is broken, ...

The causal chain is broken, though. By chaos randomly deciding the effect of an attack.

Comment In: [Blog - 10/16/2014 - 02:09]

@Riley Dirksen: It 's worth ...

@Riley Dirksen: It 's worth noting that games with luck, especially RNG, can also be solved. They just aren 't sovled for a win, they 're solved for the highest probability of winning. The optimal play maximizes your chances of success. These games do not actually obfuscate long-term what the ...

Comment In: [Blog - 10/08/2014 - 01:34]

Right, that 's why I ...

Right, that 's why I explicitly talk about strategy games . Granted, that 's a broad category still, given that any game with some kind of planned decision-making fits in, but it 's certainly narrower than all games or all interactive entertainment . r n r nIf your goal e.g. ...

Comment In: [Blog - 10/09/2014 - 06:05]

Can we come up with ...

Can we come up with a term for single-player interactive experiences that moves beyond games r n r nSure. Well, not beyond but next to I 'd say. Those things are not more than games. They are another form of interactive entertainment. r n r nFor example, in the digital ...