Optional Goals

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Goals that players do not need to complete in order to win or finish a game.

This pattern is a still a stub.


Example: Collecting extra heart pieces in Zelda are Optional Goals that help the player.

Example: In one of the games in the Ultima series, one can bake bread, but this is of no use to the player in the game.

Example: The secret areas in Castle Wolfenstein offer several types of Rewards to players but are not required to complete the game. After accidentally finding one, or being informed by other players, the player does not know where these areas are but does know that they exist and can choose to spend time looking for them.

Example: The games in the Final Fantasy series provide many quests that give experience points and objects when they are fulfilled but they are not necessary to solve to complete the game.

Example: The game Day of the Tentacle contains the whole predecessor, Maniac Mansion, as part of a game console that is within the game. The whole inner game could be finished without providing any advantage to the outer game.

Left 4 Dead series



Using the pattern

Diegetic Aspects

Interface Aspects

Narration Aspects



Achievements Replayability Challenging Gameplay Open Destiny Freedom of Choice

Actions Have Diegetically Social Consequences Handicap Achievements

Factions Information Passing Internal Conflicts Loyalty Single-Player Games Grind Achievements Goal Achievements Ephemeral Goals Minigames Speedruns Quests Environmental Storytelling Sets Strategic Knowledge Secret Areas Sidequests Puzzle Solving Easter Eggs PvP Stealth Guard Endgame Quests Companion Quests Goal Hierarchies

Instantiates: Meta Games, Selectable Sets of Goals

Instantiated by: Player Defined Goals

Modulated by: Trading

Can Instantiate

Supporting Goals

with ...

Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By

Time Limits with Rewards

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



An updated version of the pattern Optional Goals 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.