The games I want to make and see being made…

… are all about interactivity.

Mechanical challenge or experiential narrative. No wannabe movies.

… enrich players’ lives.

Intrinsically motivated discovery of systemic insight or narrative meaning.

… challenge players.

To think creatively, to master mechanics, or interpret narrative contexts.

… inspire players to learn.

Self-improvement through transparent feedback or empathic narrative.

… are tightly focused.

On a clear, conflict-free vision. Narrative supports system, or vice versa.

… are designed cohesively.

Every element in the game exists in support of its core experience.

… respect the players’ time.

No obvious choices. No passive waiting times. No laborious grind.

… respect the players’ intelligence.

No psychological exploitation. No fake depth. No mindless spectacle.

… advance the medium.

Experimentation over derivative gameplay. Inspire new ways of thinking.

… convey progressive values.

Critical thinking, competence, planfulness, holism, empathy, diversity.

If you're here, it's not too unlikely you're into GDC talks.
This one by
Frank Lantz stuck with me for many years now and encapsulates what games mean to me.

"Games are a way for thought to become visible to itself."