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The Constraint Histories of Digital Games

Over on ihobo today, a consideration of whether histories of constraints would be the best way to consider the temporal element in game designs. Here’s an extract:

Attempts to provide a taxonomy of game genres founder on the lack of consistent criteria, and usually have to be arbitrarily assigned. Connecting ‘shooters’ into a lineage suggests scrolling shooters were direct influences on first person shooters, for instance. But there's no evidence suggesting Zaxxon has any connection with the design of DOOM, or that Space Invaders inspired Zaxxon. As a historical tool, genre categories can provide some useful connections – DOOM certainly did influence GoldenEye 007, for example – but genre cannot be used as a unifying framework for game history because the genre lineages are narrowly valid and do not constitute a complete description of game history. An alternative approach can begin by considering the historical constraints that acted on any given title, grouping games by common constraints into related clusters.

You can read The Constraint Histories of Digital Games over on ihobo.

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