Game Design Aphorisms

There is no definition of computer games.

There in no such thing as art games. Games are art.

Gameplay is not the opposite of storytelling.

Graphics, music and level design are storytelling.

Mediocrity is not balance.

Abstraction is a tool. Only specificity gives meaning to art.

Interactivity is not abstraction.

Meaningful art is enjoyable. An unpleasant game is not deep, it is unpleasant.

The tools of game design are profane, the purpose divine.

There is no General Theory of Game Design.


  1. me

    No, it is not the case that all meaningful art is enjoyable. There are unpleasant games that are art. The best example that comes to mind is increpare’s brain damage, which is perhaps the most unpleasant game I’ve ever played. The la la land series is also an example of games that are not pleasant that are art, with the first in the series being particularly unsettling.

  2. Offendi

    Naturally, art encompasses both pleasantness and unpleasantness, and transcends both. Its enjoyability is in its beauty, which is expressed equally well in pain and pleasure.

    This is a good Preface to Dorian Grey for game art. When are you making the game equivalent? =P

    (Not the game adaptation of the book. That’ll probably not be a success.)

  3. me

    Most assuredly it still can, that was my entire point after all. I was refuting this point of yours:

    “Meaningful art is enjoyable. An unpleasant game is not deep, it is unpleasant.”

    I think that what you say here and what you say in the comments is plainly a contradiction. Which makes sense if you’re admitting an error in your initial reasoning.

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