The elements of videogames, illustrated

gameseeds_final_illustrations.jpg Above, artist Liselore Goedhart's unbelievably adorable illustration of the basic elements of all games, itself part of a card game meant to help designers "bring new characters and game ideas to life", from the Utrecht School of the Arts (the program that brought you indie-cum-commercial hit de Blob), Monobanda and Metagama. Click through for a larger view, while I try to figure out how to get my hot little hands on a deck of these.


  1. These are cute, although she spelled “Negotiate” wrong.

    Annoying how my eye focused in on the error almost immediately.

  2. No “collect” or “gather”?

    It’s not really the basic elements of ALL games then, is it … ?

  3. Feh. Just to pick one thing at random, “spy” and “infiltrate” are important enough to list separate-like but “hide” and “sneak” are nowhere to be seen. I’m not clear on the difference between conquering and capturing, either. Et cetera. Sloppy and ill-thought-out, IMO.

    1. Conquering and capturing are different concepts, and certainly in games… think of pure capture-the-flag type games (classic FPS multiplayer games, and Team Fortress 2) and “battlefield” style games (like Battlefield 1942 and its sequels, or Star Wars Battlefront).

      “Hide” and “sneak” are part of spying and infiltrating… but spying and infiltrating also imply more than simply hiding and sneaking, making them broader catch-all terms for that kind of thing.

      Collecting/gathering does seem missing, as Hamster King points out, but then again that may be part of “Trade” and “Hunt” (though the graphic for hunt implies hunting an enemy rather than resources).

  4. @Pickled – It’s not misspelled. You can spell the word either way, though your preference is largely a function of where you come from.

  5. Looking at the website, the card game seems to have operators you can place on some of these concepts: thereby allowing things like “sneak” to emerge from other concepts. Sign me up for a pack. Maybe we can run a Groupon for it!

  6. It’s interesting, because many of the most successful hardcore-type games involve almost all, if not all of these elements. I’m thinking first-person shooters, or real-time strategies.

  7. I might add an “Acquire,” too, weather that be a weapon, game point, gold, spell, equipment, and so on. Trade alone doesn’t cover Acquire because Trade is just one way to Acquire.

    Hunt doesn’t seem to cover Collect. Hunt/Gather would.

  8. Apparently I’m more pessimistic on this subject — instant death and unskippable cutscenes were the first things that came to mind for me.

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