The Implied Designer and the Experience of Gameworlds

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As artefacts, gameworlds are designed and developed to fulfil certain functional and creative objectives. Players infer these purposes and aspirations from various aspects of their engagement with games. Based on their socio-cultural background, their sensitivities, gameplay preferences, and game literacy, they construct a subjective interpretation of the intentions of the creators of the game. In analogy to Wayne C. Booth’s notion of the implied author, we will call the figure to which players ascribe those intentions ‘the implied designer’. In this paper, we introduce the notion of the implied (game) designer and present an initial account of the way players ascribe meaning to gameworlds and act within them based on what they perceive to be the intentions of the designer of the game.