In games, goals are usually established by rules and are the main factor that differentiates games from other types of play.


In game design, when you consider a game from the perspective of goals you can help yourself with many types of them.

Goals might be:

  • long-term or short-term,
  • explicit or implied,
  • optional or obligatory,
  • strictly or broadly defined,
  • achievable or not.

There might be usage for all the types of goals in many combinations.

The long-term goal connected to win condition is better to be strictly defined unless game is suitable for co-optionality.

A rule (preferably precise and conclusive) that decides who wins the game.

Implied goals and the first rule of music games

Important, usually implied goals of music games are: "play good music" and "follow the rules".

The first one we even may frame as the first rule of music games. Notice the vagueness of the term "good music", what's more this lack of precision is intentional.

Music games shouldn't require participants to share exactly the same notion of what is "good music". Nevertheless it might be good to have a clue about others' idea about the meaning of "good music" and to respect it.

The goal of following the rules is especially interesting, as it makes the notion of rules operating at different parallel levels. In the closely related fields it is usually not considered a goal, and for different reasons.

  • In sports - when rules are not followed, most often game stops, foul play is announced and the oponent of the offender is provided with game-specific advantage (described in the rules).
  • In computer games - rules are implemented mechanically.
  • In board games - game state from before the obstruction of rules might often be recreated, and game is continued.

Very often following the rules while playing music is challenging enough to serve as an enjoyable goal. This dynamics might be included in the game and then the win condition of the game is for example to be the last player that breaks "the rules".

Mark for clarification

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