Video games have come a long way in the Design World since the early days of basic pixelated graphics and repetitive gameplay. Modern games now boast stunning visuals, engaging stories, and complex gameplay mechanics that rival Hollywood blockbusters.
This emphasis on aesthetics and experience has bled over into other creative fields like industrial design, fashion, and architecture. Here’s a look at how game aesthetics have infiltrated the design world.
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The Rise of Game Design Principles
Game designers focus on crafting an enjoyable user experience above all else. They carefully consider elements like:
- Visual Design – Colors, shapes, and textures that are pleasing and match the game’s tone
- User Feedback – Clear indicators of success, failure, progression
- Intuitive Controls – Easy to learn input mechanisms
- Reward Cycles – Feedback loops that make gameplay feel rewarding
Decades spent refining these principles have led to major influences on product design, UI/UX, and visual storytelling mediums. Game design thinking pushes designers to create more engaging, interactive experiences rather than static objects or spaces.
Adopting Game Engines for Design Visualization
3D game engines like Unity and Unreal provide easy tools for constructing 3D spaces and visualizing designs before building physical prototypes. Architects have adopted game engines to demo building and city plans with clients in an interactive, realistic environment.
The ability to virtually “walk” through a design provides invaluable feedback and reduces costly revisions down the road.
Fashion labels like Louis Vuitton have worked with game studios to digitally render clothes on animated models.
Turning Physical Products Into Playful Experiences
Many brands aim to make physical products feel like games or toys to capture that magical play experience. Lego has introduced complex robotics kits that feel like challenging video game puzzles.
Apps allow you to control the creations digitally once built for an extra layer of interactivity.
Nissan gave drivers a gaming thrill by integrating PlayStation controls into their GT-R sports car. The entertainment console had a start/select button and re-skinned the dashboard as a game UI. This transformed the experience of driving from pure function into playful delight.
Crafting Addictive User Interfaces
Social media apps have utilized game design tactics like points, rewards, achievements, and Easter eggs to make their UIs feel more engaging.
Facebook notifications give users a dopamine rush by constantly rewarding them for commenting or sharing content. Instagram gamifies posting with streak counts and likes.
The phenomenon of addictive app interfaces is so prevalent, that tech ethics experts have raised alarms about leveraging human psychology to promote unhealthy usage.
Adopting Signature Game Art Styles
The unique visual styles of games like Minecraft, Fortnite, and Candy Crush have permeated design culture thanks to their wild popularity. You can find furniture, clothing, toys, and other products modeled after blocky 8-bit graphics or Fortnite’s cartoon aesthetics.
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Brands like Beats by Dre and Coach have launched special edition collections featuring classic game franchises like Pacman and Space Invaders. Their iconic retro art gives a nod toward geeky gaming culture while still feeling stylish.
Immersing Users in Interactive Stories
Storytelling is integral to games, and now other industries aim to wrap users in interactive narrative experiences too. IKEA created the IKEA Sleepover app which lets kids playfully explore a virtual bedroom while listening to a bedtime story.
These interactive stories feel pulled straight from RPG adventures by letting users actively participate rather than passively view. Game storytelling principles give designers a new way to connect audiences to content and brands.
Crafting Surprise & Delight Moments
Hidden secrets, Easter eggs, and unexpected twists are hallmarks of great game design. Finding a bonus level or rare collectible item delights players. Brands aim to spark the same feelings of joyful discovery through surprise product features and experiences.
These moments of surprise and delight demonstrate how games train people to expect pleasurable rewards for exploration and discovery – a lesson applied well beyond software.
Achieving Flow States Through Engagement
Game designers want players to enter a state of flow – total immersive engagement where they lose track of time. The blend of challenge, motivation, and feedback traps users in an addictive focus loop.
Game creators have spent decades codifying principles for engagement, motivation, storytelling, and visual delight. Their design strategies stimulate our senses and psychology in a way static objects can’t match.
While critics bemoan society’s gaming obsession, the truth is we gravitate towards games because of their mastery in creating flow, surprise, reward, and playable experiences.