Design = Creating “There”

The word “design” comes from the German “da”, meaning there, and “sein”, which means being. So design is simply the way of “there-being” that all humans have.

We see it more as an activity now, the steps that one can make toward improving or strengthening the human condition.

Yet game designers go a step further.


We are people who construct situations which remodel the human way of “there-being” around new goal structures. We evoke the human sense of being within fictional, simulated environments. We let people fly, swim and create on scales that reality does not permit.

Yet these experiences fail if they do not remain loyal to the basic human sense of “being” that each player brings to our crafted worlds. Game designers get to build the “there” so as to evoke  “being,” and the “there” we build can be sculpted in ways that evoke certain aspects of the human mind, to influence a subtle shift in the human way of “being”. External circumstances have a direct influence of human conceptions of the self. So many basic aspects of  humanity (murder, violence, destruction….) become enhanced and rewarded when the only goals within a system are combative or competitive.   The goal structures that comprise games can be made more compulsive, tailored for the sake of escapism, hallucination, and corporate profit. These experiences can evoke lower aspects of human “being” while repressing higher functions like creativity, community or thoughtfulness. Many games evoke both.

But at Tilt we choose goals that foster education and inspiration.

Sounds simple but it’s pretty hard. It actually might be impossible to build a “there” without it’s own bias, it’s own tailored agenda that leaves out certain aspects of human “being”.

Is it okay only to design for only the aspects of human “there-being” with which we agree?

Or does doing so just lead to repression?