Critical Gameplay Design

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Game designs where the gameplay is intended to cause critical reflection.

Games can easily highlight real world aspects with critical perspectives. While this is most easily done through the diegesis and presentation of the game, the dynamics embedded in the game system can also model systems in the real world that designers may wish to draw attention to. Games with the latter approach have Critical Gameplay Design.

The online exhibition [Critical Gameplay] hosts several games that highlights features of games often overlooked by designing counter-examples. While the pattern described here is broader in context, the examples show how gameplay can be designed to stimulate critical reflection.


September 12th

Power Explorer


Using the pattern

Diegetic Aspects

Interface Aspects

Narrative Aspects



Can Instantiate

Changes in Perception of Real World Phenomena due to Gameplay

with ...

Can Modulate

Can Be Instantiated By

Red Queen Dilemma Positive Feedback Loops Negative Feedback Loops Inherent Mistrust Entrenching Gameplay Tragedy of the Commons Social Dilemmas

Can Be Modulated By

Possible Closure Effects

Potentially Conflicting With


New pattern created in this wiki.