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How do video games resonate with players to become worldwide hits? This practical book shows you how the right combination of story elements, psychology, and game theory can generate emotionally charged experiences that take players beyond mindless entertainment. Author and experienced game designer Tynan Sylvester takes you through everything from narrative to motivation, using down-to-earth advice and real-world examples. Great games affect people in ways that stories alone cannot, and there are lots of possibilities yet to discover. This book is a light along that path. Learn how to make practical design decisions and weigh trade offs Establish a planning horizon and test your design through iteration Find low-cost, high-reward solutions for making your game accessible yet deep Understand methods for balancing levels, scheduling rewards, and designing rich multilayer interactions Provide motivation, and discover how to make the game just difficult enough