Beyond the old game design: a new design paradigm in Game Studies through C-K Theory


  • Enrique Perez


game design, C-K theory, design theory, MDA, generativity, design ontology, problem-solving, reflection-in-action


This paper presents C-K Theory (Hatchuel, et al., 2003) as the adequate theoretical formalism to understand, explain, and communicate what happens during the act of designing games and as the instrument to translate into practice existing game design contributions. To frame the need for such a theoretical approach, the paper offers an overview of game design, providing a general definition, outlining its main characteristics and scope, and pointing out some shortcomings and the lack of epistemological knowledge about design theory within Game Studies. In addition to introducing C-K Theory and contextualizing its ontological characteristics as a design theory, the paper presents an explanation of how C-K Theory operates and exemplifies it by visualizing the design of a published game. The paper concludes by addressing some potential issues surrounding C-K Theory that may arise within the Game Studies community due to previous widespread preconceptions and ideas about game design.





@Conference{digra1935, title ="Beyond the old game design: a new design paradigm in Game Studies through C-K Theory", year = "2023", author = "Perez, Enrique", publisher = "DiGRA", address = "Tampere", howpublished = "\url{}", booktitle = "Conference Proceedings of DiGRA 2023 Conference: Limits and Margins of Games Settings"}