Why Game Designers Should Study Magic

Kumari, S.; Deterding, S. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2018. Why Game Designers Should Study Magic. Foundations of Digital Games 2018 (FDG18), August 7–10, 2018, Malmö, Sweden. ACM, New York, NY, USA, [Article]

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Abstract or Description

For millennia, magicians have designed illusions that are perceived
as real regardless of their impossibility, inducing a sense of wonder
in their audience. This paper argues that video game designers
face the same design challenge - crafting believable and engaging
illusions - and that the practice of magic provides an untapped
wealth of design principles and techniques for game designers.
To support this claim, the paper introduces two key principles of
magic, affording perceived causal relations and forcing perceivedfree
choice. It then presents techniques to create and exploit these
effects and discusses their parallels and applications in game design,
encouraging game designers and researchers to further explore the
field of magic for testable theories and applicable techniques.

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Additional Information:

Author has confirmed this is the accepted version on 26/9/2018.


Games, Game design, Magic, Forcing, Perceived causality, Autonomy

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July 2018Accepted
7 August 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

08 Oct 2018 09:11

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:54

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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