Lesson 1: Game Design Overview

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at game design from 30,000 feet. We’ll examine how games are created and what makes them enjoyable. We’ll also explore different game genres and platforms.

What is a Game?

According to Briar Lee Mitchell in Game Design Essentials (1) a game is a challenging activity, with a set of rules, that brings you pleasure. He further explains that, “the challenge is to reach the end goal–to win–using the game components and the rules for using them.

By that definition, games have been around almost as long as mankind. We may look at modern video games and think of them as very different from  chess, checkers, and any number of other card or board games, but when you boil any game down to it’s most basic pieces, they all share something in common.

Tic-tac-toe Analysis and Modification

Complete the worksheet below with a partner in class.


  1. Mitchell, Briar Lee. Game Design Essentials. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley, 2012. Print.