8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A great book!, 15 Dec 2009
Jesse Schell's Art of Game Design is a great book. With a variety of anecdotes and definitions it gives really useful - and relevant - explanations about what a game designer's objectives are. Although Schell writes that game design isn't an exact science, the book breaks down games into small elements in order to show what they are really made of - spaces, structures, mechanics etc, and describes them one by one in a very comprehensive fashion. He also writes a lot about entertainment in general, allowing the reader to get valuable clues about why a movie, book or game meets success, and why some other does not.
We, game designers (especially students), often find it difficult to put into words what really defines our profession, and it all can get a bit blurry when you don't know how to call this or that. What's so great about Art of Game Design is that it helps you put words on things. Througout the book I kept having this pleasant feeling of, "heeey, I knew that, so it's how you actually call it?"
Also, one of the most interesting parts of the book are the "lenses". Through these, Schell shows ways to identify problematics in the building of your game by looking at it from certain perspectives; then, using the lenses, it becomes easy to see what's wrong and should be changed / corrected, or what works well and should be made more visible.
With helpful - and often funny - considerations about narration, target demographics, creative thinking, architecture and design in general, Art of Game Design will teach you many, many things if you're a student, and will provide useful tools if you're a professional. In either case, you will keep the book on your desk after reading it and you'll come back to it very, very often.
So again, a great book!