I’ve been playing a lot of stealth games over the last year, and will be working on two moving onto the next year. I’d like to take a moment to take a close look at them and identify some underlying threads and loops that make them fun.
At least for me, the core joy of the stealth game is the playful movement through a wide possibility space for emergent player expression. Mastery of stealth game systems bestows new, creative ways for players to solve levels. At the heart of the stealth game is a simple game loop between two cognitive states. These states are:
o Sneaking: Player is undetected and is traversing to the level’s goal, while avoiding enemy detection.
o Fleeing: Player is detected by the enemy and must survive until she triggers an event that returns the game to the Sneaking state.
Players have access to the…
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