This is the first of, hopefully, many small notes on game design with examples taken from Mafalda.
Argentinean cartoonist Quino has drawn his strip Mafalda for years. Its main characters, a group of kids including a little girl called Mafalda, often used their plays and games in order to decode and express their views of the world.
- How can you enjoy playing yo-yo, Manolito?
- I am not playing yo-yo.
- This is not a yo-yo, but the stock market. Look at the shares going up and down.
- The best thing about it is that you can deal with it as you want. I am not playing yo-yo.
- I am playing 'Rockfeller'.
From "Toda Mafalda", by Quino - All rights reserved
The strip above gives a good example of how the player can provide a context to game, filling the blanks with his creativity, something that can make the experience different to each particular player.
As for the 'stock market' analogy, it is a reminder that, as put by Chris Crawford in 'Chris Crawford on Game Design', "Good games do not simulate physical reality; they mirror emotional reality". "Play is metaphorical".