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


In game design, you don't consider only one type of goal. They might be:

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

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

Co-optionality — A feature of a game — co-optional game may be played cooperationally and competitively during a single playthrough.

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. The only situation when the precision is not required is when you want to achieve co-optionality.

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:
The main aim of playing a music game is to play good music.

Notice the vagueness of the term "good music" — this is intentional. Music games shouldn't require from 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 that and to respect it.

In related fields following the rules 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 automatically, so they don't need to be explicitely followed;
  • in board games — the game state from before the obstruction of rules might often be recreated, and then the game is continued.

Following the rules during a music game is often challenging enough to serve as an enjoyable goal. Then the win condition of the game is for example to be the last player that breaks "the rules". Connecting it with a drop-out mechanic is not advisable as it causes loads of downtime, but a "penalty" of a 10 second pause can still motivate players and also influences the music in more unpredictable way (example applied on Jeffrey Agrell's "Dueling Bumblebees").

Mark for clarification

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