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Session Name:

'Unpacking' Zen: Designing a Game Without Fail States or Scores


A zen game about taking items out of boxes after a move might sound extremely niche, but Unpacking by Witch Beam Games has gone on to achieve critical and commercial success, selling over a million copies and winning over 20 awards around the worldincluding a BAFTA for its narrative and a GDCA for innovation. The game lacks many conventional game design components: There are no scores, no time limits, no fail states, no consequences to choices, and no dialogue. Not only did Unpacking not need these elements, it is a better game for omitting them. What's left when all of these things are taken away? And why design a game like this? This talk will explore the rationale for Unpacking's design and the way it was implemented in practice.

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  • Game Developers Conference 2023
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