In mathematics, topology is the study of shapes and spaces. In his book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, Raph Koster uses the term to describe the general shape of a game experience, the elements that do not seem to change from game to game in a certain genre. 

As an example, he states two common paradigms of early platformers (Koster 70):

  • "Get to the Other Side" games -- Frogger, Donkey Kong, and Kangaroo.
  • "Visit Every Location" games -- Pac-Man, Dig-Dug, Q*Bert

These topologies continue to pop up in games, usually through the imposition of a time attack or secret areas system.

Game topologies may also be considered units under Ian Bogost's unit operational theory of game criticism.

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