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What Exactly Are Game Mechanics

There are many definitions floating around of what game mechanics are. We have been discussing it along with game studies in our class the last few weeks and it strikes me as an important part of game design. A simple definition I found was "Game mechanics help provide gameplay by providing a construct of methods or rules designed for the player to interact with." (No Author, 2015).  This definition gives you a  simple way to look at game mechanics, connects it to how you play a game and interact with other objects in the game.