Closure Points

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Events during gameplay where pieces of the game state is, or can be, removed.

Gameplay actions affect game states. Closure Points occur when the actions result in the game states being reduced, some parts of them no longer being accessible, or there are significant changes to how they can be manipulated in the future.

Note: This pattern describes closure points that can objectively be identifying through how they affect game states.


Games that provide levels also provide Closure Points. A few examples of the many games that does this include Candy Crush Saga, Doom, Staries, Pac-Man, and Tetris.

Using the pattern

A very common way of using Closure Points is to remove part of the game state to replace it with another. This can be done more specifically through Levels (especially for Finale Levels), Quests, and Tournaments; Levels that are Irreversible Events due to not being possible to reenter are stronger examples of how Levels can be Closure Points.

However, not all Closure Points reduce game states, some instead hinder certain actions or game states to occur in the future. Irreversible Events, Excluding Goals, Narration Structures, and Permadeath are examples of how to create these types of Closure Points. Others Closure Points are closures because they make players safe from having to redo some things if they fail with actions in the future or because they significantly change what actions are available. Save Points is an example of the former while Transfer of Control is an example of the latter.

Closure Points can be modified by letter players have very clear information about what will happen when they are reached, i.e. they can have Predictable Consequences. They can also be emphasized by linking Downtime to them. Another way to make Closure Points have stronger impact is to make them be the end of Committed Goals.

Narration Aspects

Since Closure Points tend to be manually designed, they are difficult to combine with Never Ending Stories.


Closure Points is the prime means of ensuring that games can have Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses. It also lets players have clear gameplay points where they can have a chance to experience Value of Effort. They can also create Limited Foresight since these points often reduces the size of game states and creates new ones. When Closure Points are consistently presented in a certain fashion in a game they also work as Goal Indicators for the overarching goals of that game.


Can Instantiate

Goal Indicators, Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses, Limited Foresight, Value of Effort

Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By

Excluding Goals, Finale Levels, Irreversible Events, Levels, Narration Structures, Permadeath, Quests, Save Points, Tournaments, Transfer of Control

Levels with Irreversible Events

Can Be Modulated By

Committed Goals, Downtime, Predictable Consequences

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Never Ending Stories


An updated version of the pattern Closure Points that was part of the original collection in the book Patterns in Game Design[1].


  1. Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004) Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media. ISBN1-58450-354-8.