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Goals are the in-game objectives or conditions that the player must meet if he expects to succeed at the game. These are goals that the game defines for the player to meet, though they may or may not be explicitly communicated to the player. In fact, in the eyes of the player, they may not even be defined.

When analyzing a game, one can find goals at different levels of granularity. For all games we could say that the highest level goal is to Win the game or Play as well as possible. However, in order to achieve that goal the player may have to Find the key to open the door or Defeat the Boss Monster. Goals must be considered at the scope or level in which they affect the decisions the player is making. Some goals may be very short-term (Get the key on the other side of the room) while others may be much more long-term. (Solve the mystery of the murder).

We have made a conscious decision not to include specific goals that are commonly seen across videogames. In the first place, we could never hope to cover all the possible goals that could be invented. In particular, those goals that are narrative in nature (save the princess, save the queen, save the planet, save the universe, etc.). Secondly, and more importantly, there exists a one-to-one correspondence between goals and entity manipulation. This is not surprising since entity manipulation is the means by which players perform actions in the game in pursuit of achieving the goals set forth. For example, if the goal is to reach the finish line, then the player will be moving by traversing the gameworld.

Finally, there are goals that are borne from the desires and whims of the players. For example, a person playing Sim City may decide that, for personal reasons, she wishes to build a city that is as similar as possible to the one she lives in. Another player may decide that he wants to play Quake without using any weapon more powerful than the shotgun. Goals that players self-impose on their game-playing experience are covered in the experiential branch of this ontology.