terça-feira, 27 de maio de 2014

The shell

We are always looking for graphics, mechanics, dynamics, information architecture, gameplay, writing and many other features of a game. But, there is one aspect of them that is always overlooked: the shell.

As Omernick says (2004, p.248) “the word shell describes the initial screens and menus a player encounters when first starting a game. The most basic purpose of a shell is to act as an introduction and a doorway to the gameplay. By offering options like Save and Load, controller configurations, and a good old Start button, you are allowing players to choose how and when they want to play the game”.

The first contact with the game is fundamental to establish a dialogue with the player. It’s simple, but the initial menu is the primary access to the gaming world. Keeping it simple and intuitive is a key factor for a good experience. Even for casual games, the shell is an essential thing to capture the user’s attention to the gameplay.

In your next project, take time to watch the first steps of the player within the game.


OMERNICK, Matthew. Creating the art of the game. California: New Riders, 2004.

quarta-feira, 14 de maio de 2014

Article: Brazilian Gaming Market

Craving to disseminate information about the Brazilian gaming market, my friend Mauro Berimbau and I wrote a brief article explaining some peculiarities of this environment with many relevant research data. We want to share our feelings with you.

Click here to download the PDF. We are waiting for your opinions!

terça-feira, 6 de maio de 2014

Casual games for casual players

Today’s post is about one of my favorite subjects: casual game design. Undoubtedly, the contemporary multiplatform environment, with so many connections between different devices, becomes a privileged ambient for games, especially casual games.

Casual games are everywhere: in the console, in the smartphone/tablet, inside Facebook and even in analogical card/board games.

To discuss some essential points about casual game design, we bring Jesper Juul into the discussion. In his awesome book Casual Revolution (2010), Juul points out (2013, p.50) that casual game design has five components:

1.Fiction: “The player is introduced to the game by way of a screenshot, a logo on a web page, or the physical game box”.

2.Usability: “The player tries to play the game, and may or may not have trouble understanding how to play”.

3.Interruptibility: “A game demands a certain time commitment from the player. It is not that casual games can only be played for short periods of time (…)”

4. Difficulty and punishment: “A game challenges and punishes the player for failing. Casual games often become very difficult during the playing of a game, but they do not force the player to replay large parts of the game.”

5. Juiciness: “Though this was not predicted by the description of casual players, casual game design commonly features excessive positive feedback for every successful action the player performs.”

All these topics help us think how to develop better games and – in some way – how to reinvent video games for a broader audience.


JUUL, Jesper. A casual revolution. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2010.