Trans-Game Information

Trans-Game Information

Information that is passed from one game session to another game session.

Some of the information in games is used or usable in other games. This form of information is called Trans-Game Information as it moves from one game to another. The information can be parts of the game state, information about how to perform actions, what events occur in the game, or simply who won the game.

Example: the system of handicap in both Golf and Go is Trans-Game Information that is used not only to let players of different skill levels to compete against each other but also allow players to rank themselves.

Example: the results of individual games in a tournament are past to the tournament itself. Sometimes only who won the game is used to affect the tournamentbut often also the actual result in recorded as well to function as tiebreakers.

Using the pattern

Trans-Game Information can either be used to affect Meta Games, different games, or other game instances of the same game. In all these cases the information spread can be about specific games states while in the last in can also be about the game design. When the information concerns the game design, it can either be rules and how to perform specific actions, where Easter Eggs exists, or how the Narrative Structure is constructed, the latter ruining Surprises and Unknown Goals. As discovering Easter Eggs and experiencing designed Surprises is an automatic form of Trans-Game Information for players when they replay a game, the events are a form of Irreversible Actions across game instances and lessen the potential for Replayability. Public Information is by its nature the information that is most likely to spread between games as all players have access to it through intermediates, but the value of what is otherwise Imperfect Information (such as where Easter Eggs exist) can be more valuable. However, the spreading of Trans-Game Information can make any form of information into Public Information unless the channels used to pass the information is restricted.

Information about game states are usually Handles and Scores linked to player results in order to support Highscore Lists and other means of giving Social Status to Game Mastery. This information can be used to support Handicap systems and training against Ghosts. The possibility to compete against others through Highscore Lists or Ghosts is a way to increase the Replayability value of games, especially Single-Player Games. Trans-Game Information about game states can also be used to make the inner games of Games within Games affect the outer games and thereby make them into a form of Meta Games.

Tournaments make extensive use of Trans-Game Information and do not work without at least the passing of information about Handles and the main outcome of the individual games. A more specific way to use Trans-Game Information in Tournaments is when a game is played back-to-back with players changing roles. In these cases, the Score by which one player won the previous game is used as the value which the other player must win by to win the Tournament.


As the spreading of Trans-Game Information can have consequences that are not defined within the game state in which they originated they can create Extra-Game Consequences. Trans-Game Information allows individual players to build Strategic Knowledge between game sessions and Game Mastery in games depending on such knowledge, thereby promoting Replayability. When the information is regarding players' achievements, it gives a basis to instantiate Handicaps in specific game instances and give Social Status when the Trans-Game Information is available to other people to observe. The use of Save-Load Cycles can be seen as using Trans-Game Information to ease the completion of challenges or goals, if the abandoned play sessions are considered separate part of separate game sessions.

In games with Character Development and Never Ending Stories, typically roleplaying games, the information about the Characters are a form of Trans-Game Information as players may not know if a finished play session also signifies the end of the game session, and may regard the next play session as a new game session.

Storytelling about gameplay is a special form of Trans-Game Information that is communicated unrestricted by the game design and that allows Social Status to be earned, Strategic Knowledge to be passed and Roleplaying to be enacted.


Instantiates: Social Statuses, Strategic Knowledge, Irreversible Actions, Game Mastery, Extra-Game Consequences

Modulates: Handicaps, Character Development, Never Ending Stories, Narrative Structures, Public Information

Instantiated by: High Score Lists, Strategic Knowledge, Tournaments, Score, Ghosts, Easter Eggs, Replayability, Handles, Save-Load Cycles, Meta Games, Games within Games

Modulated by: Storytelling, Public Information, Imperfect Information

Potentially conflicting with: Surprises, Replayability, Unknown Goals