This commandment is in some sense the simplest, but also the most important and far reaching. It has implications that reach into all of the other mechanics, and to some extent it can be interpreted as the driving force behind the other mechanics. The fundamental premise of this commandment is to highly value the player’s time.
Players have many ways they could spend their leisure time. If they choose your game, make sure they’ve made a good decision.
This means a lot of very simple things for starters; do not have overly-long animations, do not force the player to replay content that has no new value to offer them, ensure that they spend the least amount of time fiddling around in menus and the most time actually playing your game. But the fundamental reasoning behind it goes a little deeper.
The design philosophy behind this commandment is the idea that games can in fact be a valuable use of an adult’s time through interactive merit alone. This primarily means making sure that your experience has strategic depth, presents the right challenge level for the player and encourages as much learning as possible. Games can be a worthwhile way to spend your time, if they can challenge, surprise and reward you. They can help improve your decisiveness (and the quality of those decisions), they can increase your ability to value things, and they can increase your spatial reasoning ability.
Perhaps more importantly can also teach hard-to-communicate lessons about sacrifice, determination and confidence in a safe, enjoyable environment. There is no need to try and hide the interactive systems in our games behind movies, music, fancy graphics or skinner box style manipulation. By including other sources of value or perceived value, players can develop the incorrect assumption that games need to be propped up by the values of other media, In fact, games can stand on their own as valuable as long as we give them the chance to shine by cutting away those unnecessary masks.