The “magic tricks” used by game designers is an interesting revelation for me. Expectation management and “careful” presentation of information at work.
The discussion of fairness in games also lands for me. I’ve always thought of randomness as an important part of games. But I feel there is a backlash against randomness that is sometimes framed as unrealistic, as though the real world can be fully known and fully controlled. Lack of randomness in a game can be interesting, but because it is an artificial choice for the magic circle, not because it is a natural element of the world.
Science provides a deterministic framework for understanding the world. However, it is built on ideal conditions and statistical generalities that mean we can understand how things will usually happen, but not that they will happen that way everything.
I like the same randomness, within known expectations, in games. Admittedly I also don’t persevere through games after I think I’ve understood the system, as described in the podcast.