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The charts below provide two ways to look at assessment: 1) assessing the game design process and 2) assessing a game itself. 

Here we provide criteria for an effective design process, and criteria for good games.  We also provide methods to help you assess your students, or have your students assess themselves.  These methods are drawn from features in Gamestar Mechanic and from offline activities. 

Assessing the Game Design Process
  What makes an effective Design Process

Methods to assess the Design Process
Preparing/Brainstorming Understanding the elements of game design (explained in the Gamestar Mechanic quests)

Focusing on an inspiration

Deciding on the kind of game and who it’s for

Understanding design constraints (provided by a teacher, or by a design challenge)

Students can brainstorm by keeping notes and ideas in a design journal

Premium teacher accounts have the ability to track student progress in the GSM Quests - learn more -
Designing Relate the game
design to the design constraints

Meaningful selection of specific components
and sprites
Writing in a design journal or discussing choices students made about specific components in their game. Why did they choose the avatar, background, mechanic, or music? What do their design choices mean for the player?
Feedback/Playtesting Provide constructive, meaningful feedback after playing each other’s games

Considering each other’s feedback
Using playtester feedback worksheets (attached to many of the lessons) to assess the quality of feedback
Iterating Redesign the game drawing from the feedback given

Continue to focus on design goals and design constraints

Continue the playtest-iterate cycle
Using the reflection question worksheets (attached to many of the lessons) to assess how students take feedback into account

Looking at changes made in the game to assess if students understand the process of iterating
Assessing a Game
Five Elements of Game Design: What makes a Good Game Methods to assess a Game Common Mistakes
Space Unique

Makes the player think of strategies

Works well with the game mechanics
Look at Game Alley reviews: visual reviews Confusing space: The game space is so crowded or confusing that the player cannot think of strategies to navigate through it
Rules Define and guide the player’s experience

Fit well with the space and the sprites used
Look at the rules in the game label

Have students describe why they chose these rules
Unnecessary rules: a very high time limit for an easy game

Unbalanced rules: very low avatar life in a game full of enemies and obstacles
Goals Clearly presented in the game label

Fit the overall design of the game
Look at the goals in the game label

Have students describe why they chose these goals
Too many goals in an already challenging game: collect all points, blast all enemies, and survive for a certain amount of time in a game where completing so many goals is confusing and difficult
Mechanics Work in unison with the space and sprites used

Are unique within the space
Look at Game Alley reviews: gameplay reviews Mechanics do not fit the space: a maze space with difficult jumping mechanics, where only navigation mechanics would be appropriate
Components Fit with the core mechanics and game concept Have students describe why they chose to use certain components and how the components alter gameplay Miscellaneous components: keys that don’t lead to locks, or providing timer bonuses when the game has no time limit
More Factors in Game Design What makes a Good Game

Methods to assess a Game Common Mistakes
Balance of Challenge and Fun The game makes you want to keep playing until you win

The game isn’t tedious or frustrating
Premium accounts can check the game stats to show how many players try and complete each level - learn more -

Game Alley: ratings of fun and difficulty, reviews and comments
Designing a frustrating or boring play experience
Game Label Helps you understand what the game is about

Read the game label without playing the game and then try to predict what makes up the game. A good game label will give an accurate idea about the game Using the default text provided without personalizing it
(if applicable)

Fits with the elements of game design
Look at Game Alley: story reviews A storyline that starts off strong, but never concludes or veers off
Congruent Levels
(if applicable)
Logical connections between levels in terms of story and challenge Have students explain the level progression in terms of common themes, difficulty, or storyline Levels that do not seem to have a common theme – they feel like they come from different games
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