I have posted my conference paper from September’s DiGRA 2007 conference in Tokyo:
The paper A Certain Level of Abstraction discusses abstraction in games. This is the paper’s abstract:
This paper explores levels of abstraction: Representational games present a fictional world, but within that world, players are only allowed to perform certain actions; the fictional world of the game is only implemented to a certain detail.
The paper distinguishes between abstraction as a core element of video game design, abstraction as something that the player decodes while playing a game, and abstraction as a type of optimization that the player builds over time.
Finally, the paper argues that abstraction is a related to the magic circle of games and to rules as such.
Games referenced include Cooking Mama, Diner Dash: Flo on the Go, Karate Champ and The Marriage.
The paper is a bit of a follow-up to some of the rules & fiction discussions in Half-Real – you think you are finished, but you are not.