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Game design is the art of applying design and aesthetics to create a game for entertainment or for educational, exercise, or experimental purposes. Increasingly, elements and principles of game design are also applied to other interactions, in the form of gamification. Game designer and developer Robert Zubek defines game design by breaking it down into its elements, which he says are the following:[1]

  • Gameplay, which is the interaction between the player and the mechanics and systems
  • Mechanics and systems, which are the rules and objects in the game
  • Player experience, which is how users feel when they're playing the game

A paper prototype made as part of the design process of the video game Diamond Trust of London

Games such as board games, card games, dice games, casino games, role-playing games, sports, video games, war games, or simulation games benefit from the principles of game design.

Academically, game design is part of game studies, while game theory studies strategic decision making (primarily in non-game situations). Games have historically inspired seminal research in the fields of probability, artificial intelligence, economics, and optimization theory. Applying game design to itself is a current research topic in metadesign.