In 2003, we published our Ten Commandments of game design, a set of rules that we felt would universally improve videogames. Ranging from save states to control schemes, they outlined the preoccupations of both players and game designers in that specific period of history. “In another ten years, this list will look laughably obsolete,” we said, hoping that by then technology and design practice would have left it in the distant past. Not quite, though many of those commandments do indeed look archaic today, with the game industry having rolled swiftly onwards. But that progress has also introduced new challenges to making great games.
And so here we revisit the list by presenting our Ten Commandments for today. Some echo those of 2003, and others concern issues that back then we couldn’t have dreamed of. These rules prioritise play experience over the interests of business, because the end product – the spark of interaction between a game’s systems and a player’s actions – is what really matters. These commandments represent the sticking points in game design that, if conquered, will help videogames continue to become more fun, more accessible and more essential.