Developing design methodology to represent paradoxes in gameplay systems

Research output: ThesisMaster (Research) Thesis


This thesis aims to provide a preliminary framework for developers aiming to utilize paradoxes as part of their game design. Research has shown that games do not follow the laws of paradoxes while integrating paradoxes as part of their design. As such, these games misinterpret paradoxes with two different concepts: Contradiction and Subversion of Expectations, which individually and combined form the definition of paradoxes. To achieve the development of the framework, a framework composed of four paradoxical and four non-paradoxical principles was devised by isolating the primary attributes from the previous three concepts. The verification of the framework was conducted through a comparative analysis of nineteen existing games. The results indicated that games with a commercial focus, due to the risk of potential revenue loss, are more dependent on a hybrid approach of utilising both non-paradoxical and paradoxical gameplay system, with non-paradoxical systems composing the majority of the design. On the other hand, experimental games, which afford higher creative freedom, utilised a greater frequency of paradoxical system within their design.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Science
Awarding Institution
  • Abertay University
  • Sloan, Robin, Supervisor, External person
  • Reid, Andrew, Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Jan 2020
Publication statusUnpublished - 2020


  • Game Design
  • Paradoxes
  • Experimental Games
  • Computer Games


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