Thoughts on Puzzles in Games

When thinking of games, how do we define puzzles?  The puzzles on may encounter in a game such as Puzzle and Dragons, or Candy Crush,  on it’s surface seems much different then puzzles one may encounter in a game like Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  However, the commonality of language reveals an underlying connection.  I adapted something from this article on Scott Kim’s website which I think could be a useful definition for thinking of puzzles in general in games.

A puzzle can refer to:

  • An original set of problems and solutions derived from the content and mechanics you have taught the player to use.
  • A set of problems and solutions introducing a player to new content as an extension of something you have previously taught them.
  • A scenario designed to lead the player to discover a strategy or new way to use a mechanic they have previously learned.

By extension, puzzle design could also refer to designing or creating any of the above.  I’m sure there are applications and definitions of puzzles I have missed, but I just wanted to get these thoughts down.

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