Color Code

Color Code

The featured content is organized in several ways. Each article falls under at least 1 of the 12 categories below.


Mechanics: Player actions that comprise gameplay.

Level Elements: Objects and obstacles that generally have some level of physicality and do not “harm” the player.

Enemy Elements: Objects and obstacles that do harm the player.

Power-UP / Upgrade /  Economy: Any type of power-up, experience point, currency, or upgradable ability. The variable and likely optional suite of elements that enhance the player experience. Includes “power-downs” and “down-grades.”

System / Rules: High score systems, combo systems, and other more abstract aspects of games.

Level Design: The arrangement of gameplay elements to create specific challenges and experiences.

Feedback: How information is conveyed to the player. Mostly involves visual design. Also include audio and tactile design.


Design Space: The range and variety of elements within a game; Also how these elements work for or against each other. Includes the sub-topics of balance and depth.


Difficulty Design: Covers the type and range of skill possible for a game in general and for specific gameplay challenges. Uses the DKART skill system (dexterity, knowledge, adaptation, reflex, timing).


Modes / Features: A game’s modes, options, and non-gameplay features such as save systems.

Story: Setting, characters, plot, theme, and the arrangement of these elements to convey events through time.

Design: A catch-all for articles that cover multiple topics or fall outside of the above categories.

Point of View

The articles are written from a particular point of view (POV).

  • Designer: focused on how a game or story works and the parts that are necessary to achieve a certain effect
  • Journalist: focused on the experiences and feelings of the audience. Can also depict the story of the people behind a work.
  • Academic: focused on analyzing and critiquing the method by which we talk about games and the far-reaching application of games study and thought.
  • Player: focused on understanding a game for the purpose of playing more effectively or getting more enjoyment out of a game through playing better/differently.

Level of Difficulty

The difficulty of each article tries to capture the level of specific the knowledge of the reader must have to get the full meaning of the article:

  1. A general audience can get the full value of the article.
  2. The audience needs to have experienced games to follow along.
  3. The audience needs to have played a game(s) in the same genre(s).
  4. The audience needs to have played the specific games mentioned.
  5. The audience needs to be deeply familiar with the discourse, terminology, play, or design facts of a specific game.

Level of Conversation

The Level information is a way of demarcating where this article fits into the conversation. We use a binumeral system similar to Super Mario Bros. The first number indicates prior significant contributions to exploring a subject or theme. The second number reflects the number of prior short comments and responses that have been published. For example:

  • Level 1 – 1 would be the first article in a series.
  • Level 1 –  4 would be the 3rd short comment, question, or critique posted in response to article 1 – 1. The “4” would be a hyperlink to the previous comment in the series (e.g. 1 – 3).
  • Level  2 – 1  would be a significant feature article written that continues exploring the subject established in 1 – 1. The “2” would be a hyperlink to the previous featured article.