Raph Koster has released yet another excellent presentation slideshow from one of his talks. This time it’s five years old – but I agree with him when he says “…the examples are dated, I don’t think the state of the art has moved forward in most of these areas”.
Raph Koster writes about a new group that calls themselves “The Virtual Citizenship Association”. It’s a new group advocating virtual citizen ehm ‘rights’. In his blogpost he points out the relevant problems with their social contract – which I completely agree with – so I’m not going to bother repeating it all in my own words here – you should just read it – I can’t do his words justice here!
But entering the site – I was quite intrigued by how they define themselves:
“We’re a group of MMORPG professionals, people who enjoy playing in online universes in general and people who advocate the use of Free Software.”
I find that interesting. When I think of ‘MMORPG proffesionals’ I think of game operators and designers – not players, but it’s a relevant point! Why shouldn’t players be labeled as MMORPG professionals? I kinda like it – it tickled me!
As for what they’re advocating, I agree with Koster when he writes:
“I’d prefer any such social contract to focus more on how operators have to treat players, than on forcing particular business models on operators.”
And in case you don’t have the time to read the comments, I have to paste glorious Mr. Bartle’s comment – where would this industry be without his precious sense of humor?
“Why is it that these “players’ rights” advocates always target the virtual world developers and never the people who run guilds?
PS: Wouldn’t it be amusing if a virtual world developer banned membership of such organisations under its EULA?”
So there’s two new News Games (I guess that’s what we’re calling them now) out, that just claw viciously at my definition of game.
Either way, they weren’t very enjoyable for me and I’m saddened that anyone would! I suppose this is why the word ‘fun’ isn’t a requisite in any formal definition of game. Nasral is…well…just filled with some really nasty connotations! Which I suppose has all the qualities to properly be defined as a game, just my lack of fun while playing it. But fun is a point of view, isn’t it? I mean, I don’t have fun playing car racing games either (hmm…should brush up on my Koster). So I guess it’s a perfect example of how games can ‘mean’ something, and I’m not just talking narrative here, we’re talking real Bogostian theory! And then there’s this one with Google maps – impossible to gain points, which I guess is the point! Gruesome! (via Guardian Games Blog via WaterCoolerGames)
I know I’ve been doing a lot of cut’n'pasting on this blog lately, I do apologize to those who are waiting for my analytical academic insights . I guess I’ve been trying to resist my first impulsive of “Ooh! There’s a thought! I should blog about that” and instead diving straight into my thesis and documenting it there! So my blog writing is just amusing little tidbits I come across on my daily surfsessions. But maybe I should be pasting some extracts from my thesis in here? We’ll see what happens. Right now I’m just obsessing about sewing all my random thoughts and analysis together so that something that can at least resemble some wholeness is presentable. It’s really scary how many times I contradict myself in this process! But yeah…before I go off on a “I take myself too seriously” tantrum – for your amusement:
1. Thou shalt not mistake online worlds for games, for they encompass far more; nor shalt thou forget that play is noble, and game is no epithet.
2. Thou shalt not disrespect thy players, nor treat them as mere database entries or subscriptions, but rather as people, for thy power is granted you by them.
3. Thou shalt not remove fun or implement unfun for the sake of longer subscriber longevity, nor shalt thou consider thy sort of fun to be the only sort of fun to be had, for many and mysterious are the ways of enjoyment.
4. Thou shalt not blindly do what has been done before, but rather shalt know why all is as it is, and how it could be different.
5. Thou shalt create and follow rules that bind thyself as well as the players, for thou art of the community, not above it.
6. Thou shalt not make thy world a place for players to do real harm unto one another, or for thee to do harm unto players.
7. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s userbase, but instead be true to thine own userbase, for thou hast made them a garden, and thy job is cultivation.
8. Thou shalt make every activity within thy world one that stands alone enjoyably; if it be a game, then thou shouldst make it a fun game on its own merits; if it be other, then thou shouldst make it true to itself. Thy world doth not make boring things into enjoyable things merely because it is thy world.
9. There shalt be no number nine.
10. Honor thy ancestors, for they solved most of thy design problems.