<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-identification.html>Identification</a>


The characters or parts of the game with which players identify.

For players to feel any attachment to a game, they need something within the game to care about. This does not have to be a concrete game element but can just as well be a goal or type of action, but these also need some concrete game element through which players can try to achieve the goals or actions. Thereby, players need to have some game elements that they have Identification with so that they can plan or experience the gameplay through them.

Example: Although players themselves do not feel emotional Identification with their king in Chess, the events affecting the king affect the players' gameplay, and the opponent probably identifies the king with the other player.

Example: Many of the Avatars controlled in games playable by children are small compared to the other inhabitants in the games, especially the enemies. This offers children a view within the game that at least regarding size compares to how they experience the real world.

Example: When playing Europa Universalis II or Civilization players do not have Identification with individual characters; rather they can identify with countries or cultures.

Using the pattern

Identification is easily created by using Characters and Avatars in games that players control. This form of Identification can be further strengthened by allowing players Creative Control of the appearance and abilities of the Characters as well as linking Ownership to them.

Although it is common to try and create Identification through Characters or Avatars, the feeling of Identification in a game does not have to be with the Focus Loci the players have. It can also be created through other Characters in the Narrative Structure over which players do not have control. When Identification is achieved with ones' own Enemies, the Narrative Structure can be said to have been able to create an Alternative Reality with a high level of Consistent Reality Logic. However, not letting players have any connection to the game through Characters or Avatars is likely to make Identification impossible, so God's Finger, for example, is difficult to combine with the pattern.

In Multiplayer Games with Persistent Game Worlds, players can have Identification with other players. Giving support for this, often through some form of Game State Overview, can be a spurn for Social Interaction and can promote the emergence of Social Organizations but also modulates Player Killing. Mentorshipis a social relation that can create Identification between players, as the mentor is a form of model for the other player.


Some form of Identification is required in games for players to have Emotional Immersion in the game or the Alternative Reality in which gameplay takes place, and is most often done through Avatars or Characters or even simple Handles. Tension can easily be created in the game once players have Identification with the Avatars or Characters by exposing these to potentially dangerous Penalties.

Once the Identification has been achieved, it usually strengthens players' willingness to perform Roleplaying and the quality of the performance. The events and actions taken in the game strengthen the Identification if these events and actions affect the Characters and Avatars. This is because they have a form of common experiencesthat is for example present through Planned Character Development.


Instantiates: Emotional Immersion

Modulates: Surprises, Penalties, Tension, Social Interaction, Social Organizations, Rewards, Enemies, Consistent Reality Logic, Alternative Reality, Player Killing, Roleplaying

Instantiated by: Planned Character Development, Focus Loci, Characters, Multiplayer Games, Narrative Structures, Handles, Ownership, Creative Control

Modulated by: Persistent Game Worlds, Game State Overview

Potentially conflicting with: