Today’s email is short. It’s a very simple way to think about game design.
Yesterday, I briefly mentioned loops in games. Whenever you repeat an action in a game and get better at it, you’re performing a loop. You do the action, the game responds, you observe the results and you update your mental model.
Each time through the loop, you learn a little bit more about the way the world works.
Each time through the loop, you’re honing a skill.
Whether it’s jumping on a mushroom, playing notes on a fake guitar, or selecting the right attack with a Pokemon, you’re learning and getting better.
So here’s step zero when designing an educational game:
What skill or skills do you want your players to train? What do you want them to take into the world?
Then it’s just a matter of finding the appropriate rewards and challenges to encourage them to practice that skill over and over.