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Easy to use and incredibly difficult: on the mythical border between interface and gameplay

Easy to use and incredibly difficult: on the mythical border between interface and gameplay,10.1145/1536513.1536539,Jesper Juul,Marleigh Norton

Easy to use and incredibly difficult: on the mythical border between interface and gameplay   (Citations: 1)
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In video game literature and video game reviews, vi deo games are often divided into two distinct parts: interface an d gameplay. Good video games, it is assumed, have easy to use interfaces, but they also provide difficult gameplay challenges to the player. But must a good game follow this pattern, and what is the differen ce between interface and gameplay? When does the easy-to-use interface stop, and when does the challenging gamep lay begin? By analyzing a number of games, the paper argues th at it is rare to find a clear-cut border between interface and gamep lay and that the fluidity of this border characterizes games in general. While this border is unclear, we also analyze a number of games where the challenge is unambiguously located in the interface , thereby demonstrating that "easy interface and challenging gameplay" is neither universal nor a requirement for game qualit y. Finally, the paper argues, the lack of a clear distinction betwe en easy interface and challenging gameplay is due to the fact that ga mes are fundamentally designed not to accomplish something through an activity, but to provide an activity that is pleasu rable in itself.
Conference: Foundations of Digital Games - FDG , pp. 107-112, 2009
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