Theory Landmarks

Landmarks consist of unusual structures, which perform three functions. Firstly, they set the ‘feel’ or aura for the level (Wiltis 1999), especially if they refer to familiar landscapes from other media (Jenkins 2004). A landmark of a giant skyscraper, for example, instantly evokes the atmosphere of a city. Secondly, landmarks offer a useful navigational aid (Romero 1999). Without landmarks, the player’s eyes begin to wander aimlessly through the space. This produces anxiety (Pagán 2001b), particularly in open-ended spaces, which can involve much backtracking. Thirdly, related to the concept of progression milestones, landmarks can often mark completion of the final puzzle or end goal. Ensuring that such landmarks are regularly seen at various points of the level, even if the player cannot touch it, offers the player a continual reminder of the objective (Laidlaw 1999).

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