Not too long ago, it was common wisdom in some game-making circles that the strongest known correlation between player retention and game design is whether the game provides Autonomy (player choice) Competence (players feel capable) and Relatedness (players receive recognition).
At GDC 2012, Naughty Dog's Kaitlyn Burnell took to the stage to question that wisdom and asks: when game designers learn to follow such rules, when is it right to break them?
She went on to explore games that break autonomy, competence and relatedness in powerful ways, from Valve's Portal to Brenda Romero's Mechanic is the Message board games, and analyze the value these games gain by breaking rules. These examples were then distilled into a design technique that lives at the intersection of ludology (game mechanics) and narrative, along with analysis of when to use and when not to use such techniques.
It was a great watch, so if you missed it back then don't miss out on your opportunity to now watch Burnell's talk for free over on the GDC YouTube channel!
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