game designer

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A game designer is a person who creates games . She creates the rules and structures of a game. This includes all categories of the game, from computer games to tabletop games to board or card games . There are different definitions of the game designer. According to Salen (2003), he has the same status for the game as a screenwriter for a film. Since 2007, the definition of director has also been increasingly used . In traditional games, the term “ game designer” is also used instead of game designer .


When the first board game was invented is unclear. In Egyptian tombs dating from around 3500 BC The game Senet was found . The oldest card games were discovered in China and date from around the 9th century AD. It is assumed that dice were made in the 3rd millennium BC. Were invented in India.

The first computer games were developed in the 1960s and 1970s. At that time there was no way to sell computer games or make money by developing a computer game, as these required a mainframe computer . So developing computer games for programmers was just a hobby. Some games ( OXO , Tennis for Two ) were developed by electrical engineers who made them available as showpieces for visitors to mainframe systems. Other games were developed by students for friends ( Spacewar ! , Star Trek , Dungeon ).

Some of the games created at this time, such as Zork , Baseball , Air Warrior , and Adventure later made the leap into the computer game industry with their game designers.

In the early history of video games , a game designer was often the main programmer of a game, if not the only programmer. This didn't change when the computer game industry expanded in the 1970s. Sometimes it also happened that the game designer united the entire artistic team in one person. This applies, for example, to well-known game inventors such as Sid Meier , John Romero , Chris Sawyer and Will Wright .

As the games became more complex and computers and game consoles became more sophisticated (and thus opened up more game possibilities), the tasks of the game designer developed more and more into a separate field of work. The main programmer now had to perform the work of a game designer as well as a programmer and thus switch back and forth between the two roles. The complexity of the games increased so much over time that one person was required who only took care of the game design . Many of the old video gamer inventors decided in favor of game design and left the programming of the games to their employees.

Today it is hard to find console or computer games where the main programmer is also the main game designer. The so-called casual games , such as Tetris or Bejeweled, are an exception to this . For very complex games such as MMORPGs or action and sports games with a large budget, the number of game designers can go into the dozen. In such a case there are usually one or two senior designers and many sub-designers who focus on the various subsystems of the game. In large companies like Electronic Arts , each area of ​​the game (controls, level design, or vehicles) can have its own director, senior designer, and several lead designers.


  1. ^ Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman: Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals . MIT Press, Cambridge 2003, ISBN 0-262-24045-9 , p. 1
  2. The Game Director as a director, in: Gamestar Developer, 05/2007
  3. The Game Designer as Director II - The Path for the Lead Game Designer, in: Gamestar Developer, 08/2007
  4. The Game Designer as Director III - Directing Action, in: Gamestar Developer, 11/2007.
  5. The Game Designer as Director IV - Interactive Story Telling, in: Gamestar Developer, 02/2008.
  6. Game Directing - On the necessity of the creative leading spearhead in development, in: Bhatty, Michael, Directing Games, Vol. 1., 11/2014.

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