Thursday, 8 March 2007
www.interactive.usc.edu, cited 14:38, 01/03/2007 URL:http://interactive.usc.edu/members/cmallison/2007/01/the_player_of_the_text_playgro.html
cited at 17:00 on 24/02/2007 URL: http://www.616.ips.k12.in.us/Theories/Flow/default.aspx
Sutton-Smith, Brian (2001). The Ambiguity of play. Boston; Harvard University Press
Poole, S. (2000) Rules of play. Arcade publishing New York.
“Super Mario” was the main game I chose to play for this week it’s a simple game to follow in which you play a character who you play many different levels and try to win the over all game. Super Mario can fall well into the reward category as it can be seen as a adventure game, this means that the ‘game can tap into the brains natural reward circuitry’ The Idea that you keep getting a reward there is always a new one coming up. This is seen well in Mario as through out the game you can bump bricks and win things to make him stronger or give him more lives and they are hidden all the way through each level. There are 4 types of rewards; they come in the form of glory, sustenance, access and facility. The reward for glory is when the reward has no impact on play so in “Mario” this is seen when you can go down a tunnel which can cut some of the scene out then you come up and carry on playing. Rewards of Sustenance is seen as character maintenance, this can come into place when Mario wins more lives so it’s harder for him to die. Rewards of access is not as common in Mario in my opinion, you don’t really win passwords or too many secret ways there seemed to be very few of these. Rewards of facility are a big thing in Mario as you can make him stronger by winning different things for him such as weapons like him being able to shoot fire to kill his opponents. It can be easy to get really involved in Super Mario and lose track of time as you keep thinking to go just a little bit further. However a better game that carries flow 'The state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter, totally unaware of your surroundings but enjoying the task and having fun while doing so' Theories/flow.com, stronger which I played this week would have to be “Tony Hawkes Pro skater” in this game you are the skater and you get to perform lots of tricks and challenges with so many different moves to learn. It is very easy to play this game for hours as there is so much to do. It fits well under the four prerequisites for flow which are; being a challenging activity (learn lots of different skills all ranging in degree of difficulty), Have clear goals (get a certain amount of points and you get graded), clear feedback (end of each session you get scores and skill ratings) and control in an uncertain situation (don’t know if you can make every move). The effects of flow and these being which all do apply to this game is the merging of action and awareness, concentration, lose of self-consciousness and losing track of time. When looking at iteration, which is the idea that the game you are playing is not exactly repetitive in the sense that if you die and have to redo your scene you will try something different each time so it changes what happens all the time until you get it right. Iteration is what stops the game getting boring by varying your moves. “Super Mario” demonstrates this by if you get killed by being hit by a certain creature while standing at a certain spot you would go back and vary where you stand and maybe how you would move to as to not die. This is very different to repetition in which you carry out the same move each time without trying anything different this can be seen as boring and with the lack of rewards you lose interest in the game.
I played the game “Tiger Woods PGA tour” in which you become the character of a professional golf player and representing them in competitions, this game can be played solo or with friends. I always wanted to try this game, as all the boys I know seem to become immersed in this game. So I decided to explore this game after we looked at The magic circle as I think it works well with this idea. Huizinga came up with the idea of The Magic circle, he defines as ‘the space of play is separate in some way from that of the real world ‘ the sate we enter when absorbing yourself in play.' It’s the idea that you know you are playing a game but you become so interested and involved in the game that you lose track of the time and what is going on around you. 'The idea is that within the magic circle, magic governs your actions and state of mind in a manner that is unlike real life' as stated in www.interactive.usc. This is demonstrated well with “Tiger Woods” as you become so involved in each hole that you want to keep going on and doing better. After you finish your first 18 holes you want to carry on and do another 18 which you do at a harder level. It is a very simple game which requires some thought but not too much concentration so you can easily distract yourself for hours on end. This game does really push the idea from huizinga about how it allows you to shut out ordinary life and relax from everything on your mind. “Sims” could also be a good example with the magic circle as people can become addicted to the idea of living someone else’s life and having the control to change everyday event in which you cant in your own life. To enter the magic circle you must adopt a state of mind known as the lusory attitude. It is the idea that you accept the game you are about to play is not real and that it is not real life. However you do also accept that you will be playing the game by its rules and they must be followed in order to achieve success. This is shown when playing “Tiger Woods” in that you have to measure your hits well and know to use certain clubs in order to get the ball in the hole and potentially win.
The game I have looked at this week is “Miami Vice” which involves you playing the character of a young man who, throughout the game, develops a career as a stereotypical gangster. I looked at the theory of rhetoric while playing this game. Rhetoric ‘is the method of discussion or expression that contains underlying values or beliefs, that attempts to persuade others.’ As defined by Sutton Smith. This can be shown by the influence that the game has. “Miami Vice” is a good example for this as you see this young man who is quite thug like in appearance trying to work his way in the ‘gangster world’, the game allows you to control his moves which involves being able to throw people out of cars, steal cars, pick up hookers and kill people. This therefore shows how although the game is trying to be hip and cool it can also relay the wrong message and be interpreted in a bad way. Influencing the player to be like the person in the game. The values this promotes are like survival of the fittest and seen in some gang culture as well. This leads well onto the problem of moral panics and violence which is seen by parents as they may consider this game as a bad influence on there child as it does promote violence and general frowned upon things. However when I played the game “Sims” which has a similar theme behind it in the sense that you live a life that you don’t really live in which you build your way up. The rhetoric behind Sims followed a more positive view in that it encouraged problem solving of everyday life matters and make you think about your next moves and how this would have affected your characters.
The first game I played was Pro evolution soccer the characteristics of this game are skill, knowledge of the sport itself and the application of this on computer format. It is a competitive game as you have to beat your opponents where as in a game such as solitaire it is more a game of knowledge and technique but not really a competition. Wittgenstein theory of family resemblances suggests that certain characteristics, in this case games, will differ yet they still satisfy the title ‘game’ in there objective to interact with a user. Pro Evolution soccer has very few similarities to a game such as solitaire even in the simplest forms like the fact solitaire you are cards and pro evolution is you playing an active character kicking a ball there is no similarity whatsoever in the role you are playing in these to games so it almost feels weird that they are both classed with the same title as game. This makes Wittgenstein’s theory of family resemblances work well when trying to describe how different games can be and make it quite easy to relate your opinion to this theory. However after a while of playing pro evolution soccer I did get rather bored and found that this game was definitely not for me.