Game Design Patterns

About

This is a database of really common videogame tropes, seen through the lens of a judgemental game designer. While you may see examples of neutral language, the site's goal is to take a [probably controversial] stand and separate the good from the bad.

Now, the good and the bad come from the same places - games we loved growing up, or continue to love playing to this day. We as designers lift mechanics from these games because there are some brilliant mechanics there to lift. In fact, they in turn probably lifted those mechanics from a game they loved playing. Some of the mechanics we lifted because we're dying to play that kind of game, and they don't make them any more. As much as we want to be unique, there is deep value in being part of a great chain of spiritual successors, and there are generations of well-tested design where we can benefit from hindsight. That's what this is. The good, bad, and ugly of game design, with my thoughts on what made them tick.

Patterns

Telegraphing

Tutorial Spread

Tutorial Invisibility

Antipatterns

Iteration Delay

Simon Puzzle

Timed Puzzle (also known as TimedMission)

Yoku Block

View Constriction (any of Blackout Basement, Camera Screw, Depth Perplexion)

Instant Death (also known as One-Hit Kill, including any of Instant Death Bullet, Instant Death Hallway, Instant Death Walls/Spikes, Instant Death Pits etc etc.)

Door Opener (unintentionally restrictive Non-Player Companions)

When Can I Start Playing

Cutscene Forest

Quick-Time Event