Game Design Ideals

Can we increase the fun while reducing frustration, aggression, fear and stress?

Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn, a.k.a. Random Terrain.

RT Eyes Tip Jar

Page Table of Contents

I've been slowly forming game design ideals or future personal standards for creating games since at least the early 1980s. Whether you agree with them or not, below are some of my game design ideals. I'd love to make games using all of the ideals on this page, but I don't seem to have the imagination, skills and talent to make it happen.


Each section has at least one related link below it. Check out the links for more information about each subject.




Randomness and Replayability

Use controlled randomness whenever possible to keep a game fresh, so players are actually playing and not just memorizing patterns by dying and repeating the same moves as if they're learning dance steps.

Controlled Randomness, Replayability, and Freedom

Game Design Rejuvenation: Randomness and Replayability





No Mindless Enemies

If the game has enemies, never have them simply jump back and forth or move up and down as we've seen in countless Atari 2600 games. Enemies should have some type of intelligence. They don't have to be geniuses, but they should at least have a spark of intelligence that makes them seem alive. [This is only about enemies (people, animals, or other creatures), not mindless random obstacles such as asteroids, logs, or shopping carts.]

Intelligent Non-Player Characters





Frustration and Irritation

Frustration was a highly successful villainous tactic for getting people hooked on games and squeezing as much money out of them as possible, but a fun game without frustration is healthier for gamers. Players might think they feel good after 'beating' a frustrating game, but there is a good chance that players will be more aggressive and irritable whether they win or lose.

Perfect Timing Tribulations

Resist Frustration and Competition






We have been force-fed lies about our true nature and reshaped to please malicious overlords for millennia, so competition has become a nasty habit that's hard for most of us to kick.

Resist Frustration and Competition

Play vs. Competition

Quotes on Competition and Cooperation





Fear and Stress

Keeping players in a constant fight or flight state is bad for their health. There must be a way to make fun games that won't damage the health of players. These fun games should increase happiness, relieve stress, and help players feel more relaxed. If people have a rough day at work or school, they can sit down, play a relaxing game and get away from it all for a little while. If game designers can help players relieve stress and just generally feel better after playing, they've done a good job.

Perfect Timing Tribulations





The Good and the Bad

Negative ions are good for us. You might want to avoid positive ion generators and ozone generators. Whenever I need a new air cleaner (with negative ion generator), I buy it from A plain old air cleaner is better than nothing, but one that produces negative ions makes the air in a room fresher and easier to breathe. It also helps to brighten my mood.

Never litter. If you can't find a trash can, take it home and throw it away there.

Hydrofracking is bad for you, your family, your friends, and the environment.

Some people appear to have a mental illness because they have a vitamin B deficiency. I take B-Right.

Unfermented soy is bad! “When she stopped eating soy, the mental problems went away.”

Related RT Pages

Related Links

Back to Top



View this page and any external web sites at your own risk. I am not responsible for any possible spiritual, emotional, physical, financial or any other damage to you, your friends, family, ancestors, or descendants in the past, present, or future, living or dead, in this dimension or any other.


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Home Inventions Quotations Game Design Atari Memories Personal Pages About Site Map Contact Privacy Policy Tip Jar