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Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design by Joris Dormans, Ernest Adams

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Chapter 12. Meaningful Mechanics

The conventional video game industry devotes its attention to creating entertaining (and profitable) games, but games can be used for much more than entertainment. An increasing number of companies are dedicated to building games to teach, persuade, enlighten, and even heal. Many of these games try to transmit a message of some kind to their players. They can do this in various ways, but here we are concerned with mechanics and their interaction with the other parts of the game—the setting, the artwork, and the story (if any).

In this chapter, we will discuss how you can create mechanics that are meaningful. First we’ll look at serious games and what they do. Then we’ll examine communication theory and semiotics ...

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