A common metaphor used by game designers is that game mechanics are verbs. Verbs are actions; each distinct action you can make in a game is one verb.
Children’s games are often named after their verbs. Consider: Hide and Seek, Tag, Rock Paper Scissors, Kick to Kick.
The primary verbs in Doom are LOOK, WALK and SHOOT. Immersive sims such as Deus Ex are characterised by their large variety of verbs, whereas the minimalist Canabalt has only a single verb: JUMP.
In fact, JUMP is one of the oldest and most adaptable verbs in game design. Corvus Elrod recently wrote about game verbs as carriers of meaning by describing how the verb JUMP varied across five different games.
Just for fun, let’s extend the language metaphor. Continue reading →