LOGIC is the foundation of all mind gamer abilities. Logic-based games are designed by creating patterns which the player has to recognize in order to solve them. If the patterns are too obvious then it is not fun to play, so they need to be obscured – the player needs to make an effort.
Our brains are wired for pattern recognition – when we recognize a pattern, we achieve insight, which is what makes puzzles fun. Patterns can be visual, aural, mathematical, philosophical, to name but a few.
Playing a game like Signum is pleasurable because at the beginning the screen is all jumbled; then the patterns start to emerge as the player clicks on each area of the screen. Finding the symmetries of the images is what leads to the solution of each challenge. How do we use logic to play a mind game?
First, we examine all the information available, we try things and we see what happens to understand how the game works. In The Last Ritual, the first thing we will do is examine all the rooms and the objects available. Then we will start drawing connections between objects that look similar or work in a similar way. If we have a key, we will probably use it to open a lock, rather than scratching try to scratch something off. In a way, playing a game based on logic means figuring out the patterns that the designer has hidden from us in it, thus doing reverse engineering. It is a delayed battle of wits between the designer and the player.
About the Author
Clara Fernández-Vara is the co-founder of Fiction Control, a narrative design company, and Associate Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center. She's a game designer and writer as well as an academic, so her work combines scholarship with the creation of narrative games both for research and in the commercial sphere.