Game Word of the Week

Verb (n)

An action the player can use to interact with the game or game world. Verbs include shooting, running, jumping, pushing buttons, insulting people, and eating food.

Usage: We never properly trained the chicken-kicking verb, so how can we count on players using it to solve this puzzle?

Comment: Understanding verbs is important in creating a game that will smoothly and transparently teach players how to play it. Verbs need to be added one at a time, at a steady pace, each being given time to sink in via repetitive exposure before the next is introduced. Puzzles should arise naturally from the verb set already established. This is something that old adventure games do horribly – they often boil down to “guess the verb” games. How am I supposed to know I can use the staple gun on the camel? I’ve never done it before.

This is also why modern puzzle games like Portal are so much better. The verbs are established, the puzzle is in working out the logical implications of those verbs.