“Game Feel”: The Hidden Language Of Games

“Game Feel”, also called “Game Juice”, is the intangible, tactile sensation experienced when interacting with video games.

The term “game feel” was popularized by Steve Swink’s book, shown above. Calling it “Game Juice” is weird, no negotiations.

So what is it, really?

Basically, anything that doesn’t fit into the other common categories, including but not limited to, art, audio, mechanics, etc. It could be called similar to design, and is affected by all of these things.

The simple answer: How it feels to play the game/How you feel about/when playing the game.

Game Feel is generally created from a collection of things that have a varied impact on the player’s perception of the game.

  • A non-linear vertical speed curve while jumping.
  • A slight acceleration/deceleration when starting/stopping movement.
  • Audio cues indicating specific events.
  • A certain color palette chosen for the art style.
  • Animations of objects/items/characters.

All of these things would have an impact on perception of gameplay, and all would contribute to the overall “Game Feel”.

I recently completed a short project focusing on Game Feel. In my next few posts, I will talk a bit about how you can design Game Feel to invoke certain feelings or impressions in the player, starting with “weight”.

Stay tuned!

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Unity game developer / C# Programmer / Gamer. Australian (Tasmanian) indie games developer for 10+ years. Currently looking for games industry employment.

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Vincent Taylor

Unity game developer / C# Programmer / Gamer. Australian (Tasmanian) indie games developer for 10+ years. Currently looking for games industry employment.

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