What is Challenge?

What is challenge?

  • Challenge is a fundamental source of interaction in a game.
  • It must allow the player to achieve a sense of accomplishment without causing frustration.

Without challenge, a game becomes an interactive fly through. Challenge allows the player to have a presence in a space as opposed to simply watching it.

As Jaquays notes, a unique challenging obstacle that is exclusive to each level can make a game more memorable.
However, a Ryan observes, if the challenges continually cause failure, the player loses interest.

Puzzles and obstacles are key source of challenge.
However, they may be irritating if they require the player to adopt the logic of the designer.
Hence, challenges should always offer multiple solutions. The alternative solutions do not have to be easier to achieve, but should instead provide an avenue for success for players who may not think in the same way as the designer.

See also:

  • Concepts that prepare the player for challenge
    • theorytag_scripted.gif theorytag_training.gif theorytag_trialerror.gif theorytag_instinctive.gif theorytag_vocabulary.gif
  • The integration of challenge into a gaming experience
    • theorytag_pacing.gif theorytag_gameflow.gif

Jaquays, P. (1999) ‘Paul Jaquays, id Software’ In: Saltzman, M (ed) Secrets of the Sages: Level Design – Gamasutra.
Available at: http://www.gamasutra.com/features/19990723/levdesign_chapter_04.htm [accessed: June 2006]

Ryan, T. (1999) : ‘Beginning Level Design Part 1: Level design theory’ In: Gamasutra.
Available from: http://www.gamasutra.com/features/19990416/level_design_01.htm [Accessed: June 2006]

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