Point and Click Interface

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Making use of point and click model commonly used in computer operating systems, some games interface with the player using point and click motions from a mouse, joystick or similar device. Pointing and clicking often works in conjunction with menus to create commands. For example, in Warcraft III [Pardo, 2002], the player uses a mouse, trackball, or similar device to move a cursor. Using this cursor, the player selects units, then selects actions for the unit to perform using on-screen menus or predefined keyboard commands. Sam & Max Hit the Road [Clark et al., 1993], works in the opposite order, having players select a cursor from a graphical menu of possible cursors (an eye, a mouth, an object in Sam's coat pocket), then click on an object within the game upon which to perform that cursor's action (the eye cursor to examine, the mouth cursor to talk with someone, etc.).

Games using a point and click control method often adopt the window metaphor in point and click computer operating systems as well. This can be seen in the pop-up windows used in games like Neverwinter Nights [Oster et al., 2002], Warcraft III [Pardo, 2002], and SimCity 4 [Knight and McCormick, 2003]. Such games also tend to adopt a third person perspective to present the game to the player.

See also Third-person Perspective


Strong example

Warcraft III [Pardo, 2002] uses a point and click interface that allows players to select their game entities by clicking or dragging over them and give them orders through a menu of icons and other clicking activities. All players' interactions with their game entities take place using this point and click input method. The game provides hotkeys to speed issuing commands, but all selections are made using the point and click interface.

Strong Example

In The Secret of Monkey Island [LucasFilm, 1990], a point and click adventure game, the player has access to the verbs Open, Close, Push, Pull, Walk To,Pick Up, Talk To etc. as actions the player can perform. The mechanism works by first choosing the action the user needs to perform followed by clicking the 'hot-spot' on the screen the player wants the action applied to. For example, to open a door the player needs to click on Open in the menu and then on the door.





Clark, S., Michaud, C., Purcell, S., and Stemmle, M. (1993). Sam & Max Hit the Road. LucasArts, dos edition.

Knight, J. and McCormick, M. (2003). SimCity 4. Electronic Arts, windows edition.

Oster, T., Holmes, M., Greig, S., Moar, D., Brockington, M., Knowles, B., Ohlen, J., Bartel, R., and Manthorpe, T. (2002). Neverwinter Nights. Infogrames, windows edition.

Pardo, R. (2002). Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Blizzard Entertainment, windows edition.