Talk:Game mechanics

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This doesn't say anything.

There you go... I've added 1,300 meaty words. Better? :-) -dmmaus 11:06, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I think a definition of game mechanics needs to incorporate the idea of fun. As far as video games are concerned it helps to distinguish the thousands of rules that are in the background (after all a computer program is just a huge set of rules)from the meta level rules that turn a game into a enjoyable and meaningful activity. --Jacobmph 17:59, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Metagame mechanics[edit]

I have heard the term 'metagame mechanics', but I have not been able to understand what it is. Perhaps someone could add an explanation, either in this article or a new one on the subject? SpectrumDT 13:41, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Meta-game mechanics would be the mechanics of meta games, that is, games about games (or something like that). Meta game mechanics would be mechanics (a framework of rules) for generating game mechanics. I'm not sure what both things should mean in detail, though. HTH — TowerDragon 22:48, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
See also metamechanicsTowerDragon 23:06, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Catchup logic[edit]

Many games contain a form of catch-up logic, allowing players who are left behind (or unlucky) to stay in the competition. Such a mechanic is often seen in computer racing games, where the race leaders vehicle have a lower top speed. Another example is the board game Powergrid, where the game order is changed to make the weakest players go first when buying resources. Loeffe

Good point! I've added a section about this. -dmmaus 22:47, 14 April 2006 (UTC)


Not to be nitpicky (actually, I guess that's exactly the purpose of this...) but I haven't seen any sources for this cited... I might try to find some sources at a later date, but I tend to be pretty lazy, so don't expect anything. NHammen 02:47, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure what sort of sources you want. The article is basically a descriptive list of facts. You don't need to refer to a source to know that some games use dice to control movement, for example. However, if you can find sources, please do add them in. -dmmaus 04:32, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

"Game mechanics fall into several more or less well-defined categories."

To me this implies that these are what most game designers recognise as being the basic components to all games, not just a descriptive list of facts. I don't see any mention of balance here either except in one of it's forms as catch-up. NHammen 22:35, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Well I don't have an academic-style reference, but it's fairly well-known in the gaming community that there are several classes of game mechanic, that line up pretty well with what's in this article. The basic ones are pretty obvious to anyone. I based some of the sections on game mechanics defined by BoardGameGeek. I'm sure there are references for these categorisations, but books on the theory of game design are few and far between. Rules of Play and Game Design Workshop are likely sources, but I've not read them (yet).
The point about game balance is good - I've added a reference to it in the introduction, since there's an article on it already. -dmmaus 04:00, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

This article isn't about game mechanics. It's about elements of static game like RPG. What's about sports, what's about 3d action game (platform, first person shooter, RTS)?Vapour

Gamemechanics v.s. Gameplay[edit]

Sorry for inserting fair bit of unreference material in Engrish. But I believe distinction between game design (gameplay) and game programing (gamemechanics) is a useful conceptual framework. Hope someone can expand more on this very interesting topics. Vapour

a bit too prescriptive[edit]

This article seems to mostly present a taxonomy and set of distinctions as if they were widely accepted (though without citations), while in actuality there's considerable disagreement on the matter, and I think it'd be fair to say that analyzing games and the game-design process is still in its early stages. There have been some proposals, such as a mechanics-dynamics-aesthetics split, or the idea of "core mechanic" in Rules of Play, which would be useful to review in a more descriptive sense with citations, acknowledging that it's still an open area. --Delirium (talk) 01:20, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Dubious addition[edit]

I've removed the following unsourced addition as it seems highly dubious. Who created this classification? What about all the other types of game not covered by this taxonomy? How about word plays, simulation games, games based on pure physical activity...? Diego (talk) 18:13, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

==Broad types of game == The majority of games fall into three categories 'Race, Place or Chase/War or combinations of the three.[citation needed] Three examples :- Ludo is a simple Race game with a Capture ie Chase element'. Both Tic-Tac-Toe and Go are strict game of placement with no secondary moves. The majority of computer-based strategy games are definitely of the Chase or War category. Both Robert Charles Bell and Harold James Ruthven Murray use these major categories. Bell separates Mancala games from the Race category and also has Dice and Domino categories. In addition, there is the large sub-genre of Solitaire and Puzzle games.

Mechanic or Mechanism[edit]

Shall we discuss this? It seems there is some push and pull on this topic. Quoting from page 4 of "Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design" by Adams & Dormans: "Game designers are perfectly comfortable talking about a game mechanic in the singular form. They don't mean a person who repairs game engines! Instead, they are referring to a single game mechanism that governs a certain game element. In this book, we prefer to use mechanism as the singular form, indicating a single set of game rules associated with a single game element or interaction."[1]

Personally, I prefer mechanism for the singular form, especially after reading the definition of mechanic[2]. However, there is much use of mechanic in game literature. See for instance McGuire & Jenkins[3] and Sicart[4]. RareEntity (talk) 09:29, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

By far the more common word is "mechanic." Just Google "game mechanism." 95% of the pages that come back use "mechanic" and make no mention at all of "mechanism" even though that was the search term. This article should use "mechanic" for consistency and because it is the more accurate and preferred word. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

I would like to concur with the prevailing concept of "mechanic" as the definitive singular term. While "mechanism" is a reasonable alternative that is defined within the dictionary, it also is non-specific and only recently has been cited and changed within the BoardGameGeek website. Outside of that microcosm, "game mechanic" is used in significantly more articles and game theory essays throughout the history of the subject.

Some quotes from various sources: "There's a real advantage to forging a game around strong main mechanic." [5]
"explains Miyamoto. 'We had found that the ink-battle play mechanic was fun...'" [6]
“short-term goals, each one providing a kind of pleasure that is less immediate than the instant gratification of the core mechanic, but more rapidly obtained than the long-delayed outcome of the game” [7]
"In this sense, then, game mechanics also describes the mechanisms of the game simulation... Other definitions, like Cook's (2005): "game mechanics are rule based system/simulations that facilitate and encourage a user to explore and learn the properties of their possibility space through the use of feedback mechanisms", while acknowledging the relations between players, rules and mechanics, fail to provide a sufficiently clear set of properties that allows the concept to be applied in a formal analysis of games. This definition is valuable since it incorporates the notion of feedback to the understanding of mechanics, but it falls short in explaining how we can identify a mechanic, or a set of mechanics, and how it is based in the rule system."[8]

Anyway, I propose that we circumvent the argument entirely and allow people to make their own decision, by changing the Heading of the section to an alternative that uses the plural not the singular. TheCrippledWerewolf (talk) 01:12, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

"circumvent the argument entirely and allow people to make their own decision" That's not how Wikipedia works. We follow reliable sources, not what editors may or may not want to use. As you yourself pointed out, reliable sources use predominantly "mechanic(s)". We use this pretty much in all game-related articles. We can leave a note that alternate wording exists. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 10:17, 16 May 2017 (UTC)


Found this article about game design, it may be interesting. [1] Diego (talk) 18:48, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

And a couple of videos, found at this comment page:

[2] [3]

Diego (talk) 18:50, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

An excellent article titled Defining Game Mechanics[4] RareEntity (talk) 09:29, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Basic Gameplay[edit]

What is "Basic gameplay" and where does it come from? This is the first time I've heard of the concept and (vague) definition and I am unable to find anything about it on the internet. The Wikipedia article on Gameplay itself doesn't even mention the word "basic".

It seems to be somewhat "genre defining," and if it is a real thing, it might be interesting to add to the Gameplay article. However, it doesn't seem to have any more to do with game mechanics than gameplay as a whole does. Any references I could check out? Maplestrip (talk) 09:30, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

I think the section is referring to what is also called "core gameplay", the basic elements that the players interact with through the whole game, as opposed to variations of rules at different levels. I've seen it defined in some articles about gameplay, you may have more luck searching for those terms. Diego (talk) 09:43, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Looking for that, I found this description of core mechanics[9]:
"Always following a player-centered approach, we can define core gameplay as the set of activities that the player will undertake more frequently during the game experience, and which are indispensable to win the game. The game mechanics which allow carrying out the core gameplay activities are called “core game mechanics”, and are, consequently, the most important in the game, since players will have to deal with them during most of their play experience."
Which is interesting and all, and might see use in the Gameplay article, but I'm really not sure if it is of great importance in this article. It is the core aspect of a game, but saying "the core aspect of the game is the core aspect of the game," or even "The most frequently used game mechanics are the core game mechanics" would be... somewhat odd. Maplestrip (talk) 09:55, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
I'll try to dig the article I saw (I think it was by Daniel Cook, either at Gamasutra or Lost garden); it had a lot more to chew. Diego (talk) 10:29, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

First hit of my search, a classification of game mechanics in layers: [4] Diego (talk) 10:31, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Oh, that's really good. I especially like how it points out meta game mechanics, which could be an interesting addition to this article (though I am not sure where to put it. "Core and Meta Game mechanics" could deserve its own section?). This still doesn't really have anything to do with the relationship between mechanics and gameplay, though, which the section that defines "basic gameplay" would be about. Interestingly, it does switch "core game mechanics" to "core gameplay" when it describes chess, as if the two are synonymous.Maplestrip (talk) 10:50, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
I haven't seen anyone establishing a hard distinction between game mechanics and gameplay; they're used interchangeably, with maybe some nuances of "mechanics" being reductionist/technical as a set of distinct rules and "gameplay" being holistic/emotional - the feeling that emerges from playing, and which distinguishes one game from the next. I think we could pretty much merge the short gameplay article as a section of this one to avoid confusion to readers.
I've been willing to document Cook's theory of "atom loops" and arcs for a while. Though most of it is self-published, the basics have been made available at Gamasutra, and thus Cook counts as "expert whose work in the relevant field has been published by RSs".
I've also found this, which are hard results based on scientific research. Diego (talk) 12:51, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

One thing worth noting either way is that you'd need to combine multiple mechanics to create gameplay, which might be the key of the relationship between the two. Whether to combine the two articles... I really don't know. If this article could bring a good technical explanation of certain gameplay elements and the Gameplay could give a good description of gameplay as something experienced by the user and crafted using mechanics, I am sure that both articles could stand very well on their own. It seems neither article have a sufficient quality for that right now, though(but I must say that the lead section of Gameplay looks pretty good)Maplestrip (talk) 08:43, 17 October 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ Adams, Ernest; Dormans, Joris (2012). Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design. California: New Riders Games, an imprint of Peachpit. ISBN 978-0-321-82027-3. 
  2. ^ "mechanic, n.". Retrieved August 24, 2014. 1. a person who repairs and maintains machinery, motors, etc.: an automobile mechanic. 2. a worker who is skilled in the use of tools, machines, equipment, etc. 
  3. ^ McGuire, Morgan; Jenkins, Odest Chadwicke (2009). Creating Games: Mechanics, Content, and Technology. Wellesley, MA: A.K. Peters, Ltd. ISBN 978-1568813059. 
  4. ^ a b Miguel Sicart. "Defining Game Mechanics". Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Salen, K. & Zimmerman, E. (2004). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  8. ^


What's this supposed to mean? "Game mechanics are a shape different from rules, they are constructs of rules or methods designed for interaction with the game state, thus providing gameplay."

Is fail.

Kortoso (talk) 16:59, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

I can't find that sentence anywhere in the article, but feel free to fix anything that is wrong. The article is in a pretty bad state, after all. ~Mable (chat) 12:04, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
Last time I checked, it was the first sentence in the lede. If I knew what it was supposed to mean, I would happily change it.
Maybe someone can supply a better definition of "game mechanics"? Kortoso (talk) 16:01, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
Does this sound reasonable:
"Game mechanics are rule based systems / simulations that facilitate and encourage a user to explore and learn the properties of their possibility space through the use of feedback mechanisms. Kortoso (talk) 16:03, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
In my opinion, the first sentence of the article, "Game mechanics are constructs of rules or methods designed for interaction with the game state, thus providing gameplay," looks really good, and its source seems very adequate. I think the aspect of facilitating/encouraging players to "explore and learn the properties of their possibility space through feedback" would be a great addition to the lead. Currently, the article is heavily lacking in sources, so if you can replace unsourced material with sourced material, especially if the unsourced material is incorrect, that would be great and very helpful :) ~Mable (chat) 16:55, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

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