Kaboom! is a many-splendored thing: an interpretation and design methodology for message-driven games using graphical logics

Abstract

This paper describes an explicit model for how to interpret and create simple 2D games that reasonably communicate messages through a game's representational layer in a manner that is consistent with its processes. A few prominent experimental games (e.g. <i>Kabul Kaboom, Passage</i>) have demonstrated that when the rhetorical implications of a game's processes and its representational layer are in harmony, worthwhile and coherent messages can be communicated. This paper reports the findings of an extensive analysis of Activision's <i>Kaboom!</i> (1981) [1] that explores its rhetorical design space in the service of developing a general method for the interpretation of simple message-driven games. The paper then shows how the application of this method to even a simple game like <i>Kaboom!</i> reveals an unexpected range of coherent potential messages. The paper concludes with a description of a design process and assistant tool that enables those who are not game designers, or even procedurally literate, to create simple games that present editorial and expressive statements. We see this project as a concrete step forward, both analytically and in enabling production, in the field of procedural rhetoric.

DOI: 10.1145/1822348.1822378

Extracted Key Phrases

9 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Treanor2010KaboomIA, title={Kaboom! is a many-splendored thing: an interpretation and design methodology for message-driven games using graphical logics}, author={Mike Treanor and Michael Mateas and Noah Wardrip-Fruin}, booktitle={FDG}, year={2010} }