MDA Framework and Genre


  • rules and systems
  • Mechanics are the base components of the game – its rules, every basic action the player can take in the game, the algorithms and data structures in the game engine etc.


  • actual dynamics/mechanics
  • Dynamics are the run-time behavior of the mechanics acting on player input and “cooperating” with other mechanics.


  • emotional responses/total experience of game
  • Aesthetics are the emotional responses evoked in the player.

 Eight Type of Aesthetics

  • Sensation (Game as sense-pleasure): Player experiences something completely unfamiliar.
    • play it for the music or the visuals
  • Fantasy (Game as make-believe): Imaginary world.
    • based off of fiction
  • Narrative (Game as drama): A story that drives the player to keep coming back
    • about the stories and human drama
  • Challenge (Game as obstacle course): Urge to master something. Boosts a game’s replayability.
    • engagement in overcoming obstacles
  • Fellowship (Game as social framework): A community where the player is an active part of it. Almost exclusive for multiplayer games.
    • focuses on social aspects
  • Discovery (Game as uncharted territory): Urge to explore game world.
    • uncovering hte new
    • findin ghwat there is left ot find
  • Expression (Game as self-discovery): Own creativity. For example, creating character resembling player’s own avatar.
    • let you express yourself through games
  • Submission (Game as pastime): Connection to the game, as a whole, despite of constraints.
    • lets you zone out, take away from real world
  • Competition
    • demonstrate our superiority over others
  • knowing and delivering on core aesthetics helps sell good games


Extra Notes

  • ask yourself why should people play your game
  • combine genres to reinforce core aesthetic
  • find genres that you like that have similar cores
  • combine genres by looking for things in one genre had and the other one doesn’t
  • make sure you know how genres fit together, don’t combine according to personal preference

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