For this week’s critical play, I decided to explore Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, both are physics-based puzzle games. By physics-based, objects in both games interact with each other in ways that are identical or best simulate real-life physics.

In Angry Birds, the player must launch different kinds of birds via a slingshot to annihilate pigs behind defenses. Each time, the player must work out the right trajectory by pulling the slingshot to the right extent while pointing at the right angle. Different kinds of birds also come with different properties. …

Sketchnote: Onboarding

The first feeling I had with Fez is nostalgia, with its art style being similar to games like Mario and Mega Man that is a signature of a time in the past. However, as most games move on to 3D, high fidelity graphics, Fez takes on a reimagination of the 2D platformer visual style with one unique twist, literally. The game is set in a 3D world but represented as having a 2D world wrapped around a cube. Players start the game feeling like it’s Mario but with a bit more places to go up and down until they realize…

Everybody Gone to the Rapture is a mystery walking simulator with an embedded narrative. The game is set in a small village where everyone has mysteriously disappeared, leaving only traces of their past existence in light orbs scattered around the village. As the player, your goal is to interact with the traces in the world and piece together what happened while enjoying exploring the beautiful, serene village.

Mind map: puzzle design

Mind map: Role of Game Architecture

Sketchnote: Escape Room and VR

First released on the PS3 as an indie game, Journey became one of the most beloved games of all time and won the Game of the Year Award by Gametrailers in 2012. Many players regard Journey as an official statement from video games as the ninth form of art. The game’s aesthetics, simple yet beautifully presented graphics, and simple interaction mechanics make it feel like a museum walk. But unlike staring at paintings or artifacts, Journey utilizes the core elements of a video game to make the exploration fun with an emergent narrative adding meaning to the journey itself.

Mind map: Game’s Narrative Architecture

Sketchnote: Chance and Skill

Tony Jiang

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