Free Association

Posted in Making Magic on February 5, 2004

By Mark Rosewater

Working in R&D since '95, Mark became Magic head designer in '03. His hobbies: spending time with family, writing about Magic in all mediums, and creating short bios.

I've often been asked what skills a good game designer needs. A good game designer has to have a good understanding of what makes games tick, particularly the game you're designing. And by tick, I mean they need to know what makes the game a good game and what are the elements that the player base enjoys the most. The person needs to have a sense of organization. They need to be able to think holistically (that is, see the big picture rather than just the parts).

But most importantly, a good game designer needs to have a creative mind. Game designe is rife with mental roadblocks. There are always a hundred reasons why something doesn't work. A good game designer has to find the one reason that makes it work. The best designers don't find the complicated answer. They find the simple answer. And trust me, the simple answer is the proverbial needle in the haystack. (What would my column be without a few good metaphors?)

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