“Gameness” is a very empirical concept and as such it might be hard to measure, but I believe that by following the progressive evolution of a system, we might pinpoint the moment it goes from being a non-game to being a game. If we identify the precise circumstances where this happens, we might learn something about the nature of games! Who knows?

1 pixel games are the radicalization of the spatial constraint I spoke of earlier. The goal of the exercise (because that’s what this will be, a design exercise. I don’t count on any of this being fun) is to develop game-like systems using only one “pixel”, or rather a single object able to be in different states (colors). An actual pixel would be impractical due to its size, you can judge for yourself:

A Black Pixel

Did you see it? It’s there, honest! All further pixels will be zoomed in for your viewing pleasure.

For the first series of exercises, I’ll try to extract “gameness” off a two-state (black/white) pixel. Beginning with the most minimal interactive system and building off from that, adding rules progressively to complexify the system.

Each article in this series will be structured in the same way. The first section will be a description of the behavior of the pixel, both textual and schematic. A prototype will be also available for download. Each article might be followed with a short analysis of the changes the current interactive object and how they affect its eventual “gameness”. I will post one article each day until I’m out of pixels.

When I’m done, I’ll recap and start again with a different pixel (new behavior type, more different states or different colors).

Do, or do not. There is no try.