the tyranny of the menu vs Game-centred UX

One of the things i've noticed about screen design in games is what I call "the tyranny of the menu". When you look at the flows between screens (for example on iphone Guitar Hero UX) you soon notice that it is arranged hierarchically, i.e. things that are alike have been grouped into menu items. Where there are too many items (more than 5?) then they have a sub-group screen so that making choices lets the user drill-down to the thing that they want. An example of this is high-scores - GH shows leaderboards in many different combinations so it could get confusing, but drilling down simplifies the process.

All well and good if the found item is the major thing…but it isn't, the game is. All of these screens are really just the supporting act to the main event, the game. Therefore I say that there should be a different sort of design process going on, not just grouping. All actions should flow towards playing the game. E.g. when you look at a leaderboard of scores by track then the user is actually filtering the track list, so give them a chance to play on a track.

What shall we call this then? "Game-centred UX"?

ideas ux
It's All In The Game blog (c) 2005-16 by Jez Nicholson