(by chris the cynic)
Some games (e.g. football/soccer) rely primarily on straightforward rules and the laws of physics to run. And then much more complicated rules to prevent people from exploiting loopholes, deal with the fact that the laws of physics don’t prevent accidental rule breaking or intentional cheating, and so forth.
Other games, chess, D&D, whatever a really famous video game is, create their universe and in so doing provide their own laws of physics.
Both types of games have mechanics, but they’re more recognizable in the latter because you can’t respond to “Why why can’t a bishop move like a rook in chess?” the same way you respond to “Why can’t the players fly in football/soccer?” (Because gravity and the players can’t fly.)
Of course, why is a 1-0 victory in soccer the same as a 10-0 victory and a 10-9 victory has no such obvious answer, and so that’s much clearer as a game mechanic than “The players can’t leave the ground except by jumping, and human anatomy + earth gravity will limit how much they can be off the ground,” even though both apply.
In a video game everything has to be programmed in. If you can jump it isn’t like in football/soccer; someone had to code that. There are a lot of games were they didn’t. Even something as simple as jumping is a game mechanic. So is something as complex as being able to use social engineering to bluff your way into a place you’re not supposed to be instead of having a shoot out.
What game mechanics do you like? Dislike? What are game mechanics you think need to be used more or less. What are game mechanics you’ve never seen but would like to?
[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it. Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]