There has to be an explanation!


Ok…I’m just aching for any excuse not to work today! It’s so much funner reading and blogging that explaining the social structure of The Sims Online (probably having a hard time, because I’m starting to think it’s all just chaos and there’s probably no use defining it, which again probably means that I just don’t get it!).
Anyways…Kotaku and Wonderland have been wondering about this incredibly pathetic add! I mean…it can’t mean what we think it means, does it? Dirty pictures of your white girlfriend? It doesn’t even have the ‘oh cool they shocked me’ effect! But it has to mean something else…common, please tell me it means something else!!

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Beauty a gameplay attribute?

So, I just couldn’t resist! I’ve been reading C. Jason Smith’s “Body Matters in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games” .

It’s an interesting read. And sometimes I really wish I’d been an avid gamer all my life, because it seems like I’ve missed out on so much!!

He states that avatars in MMOs have two bodies, the numerical and the graphic. And this is what fascinated me:

  • “Despite their differences, however, all MMOs, make the choice of the avatar and its appearance (and thereby the virtual gender of the character) a central concern. Some of these choices have both a numerical and visual value. For example, “comeliness” (or “attractiveness”) may have a numerical value, say 60/100, which affects character interaction with non-player characters (NPCs). The NPC shopkeeper might sell their products cheaper to a “pretty” woman or give them more information than a less attractive character. Visually, however, other players might not be inclined to agree with the numerical assessment and might choose to ignore it altogether. In traditional RPGs, it was technically not possible to “ignore” the statistic: the Game Master (GM) or Dungeon Master (DM) was supposed to give the “pretty” player a statistical chance of using their looks to convince other players to have their characters do something they were not particularly inclined to do otherwise.”

Isn’t this interesting? It’s so weird, because I’ve always kinda known that this existed, it’s just never been a part of my own gameplay experience. I definately agree with the numerical/graphical distinction and when it comes to the numerical ‘attractiveness’ I suppose it all comes down to which game you are playing. How often do you encounter NPCs who will take this into account? If your avatar’s attractiveness was more to lure other players – well then these numerical attributes are pointless. The wise gameplay there would be to have the numerical attributes which will give you more money so you can buy more things. As Smith says, “Money buys you individuality” and it is this individuality that makes you ‘attractive’ to other players.

More excellent reading!

Ever informative Clickable Culture introduced me to this marvelous Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture. Boy oh boy! I can’t wait to read some of this stuff! So many great topics!

Can someone please tell me where I can buy some extra hours in the day?

John Miller – “Role Playing Games as Interactive Fiction”
Ben Hourigan – “You Need Love and Friendship For This Mission!: Final Fantasy VI, VII and VIII as counterexamples to totalizing discourses on videogames”
C. Jason Smith – “Body Matters in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games”

They all look brilliant, really!

I’ve played GameGame

Yup! I can’t believe it…I finally got to play GameGame (how long have I been wanting to do that?)! And guess what? I got to play it with the wonderful designer of the game Aki Järvinen in the room!!! Excellent, excellent!!!

I almost missed it though, because no one thought to tell me he was coming!!! I mean, stuff like this is such a secret at my department it’s disgraceful!! Seriously folks, it wouldn’t have hurt you to say something like “Psst…guess you’re excited about Aki Järvinen coming on Monday…right?”. I’m so sick of this happening soooo often!

I’d write more…but there’s just way too little time in the day…I need to get some other stuff done for my advisor! So, Stavelin! I encourage you to have a go at some analysis!!! ;)

I will say this! It was a lot of fun!!! My creative juices definately woke up!!!

Update: So, although it’s really sad to admit it…I couldn’t sleep last night because I was going through some thoughts on this session! Uff…I need a life, don’t I?

Anyways! I was grouped up with Nina Svane-Mikkelsen, who already has a gaming project underway, so we decided to use her theme as basis for our game design. I suppose what really struck me was our complete disregard of the rules. We really didn’t care that we didn’t have the card that gave us the game mechanic to put our gameplay into action. The rules were more helpful than restrictive for us. Little lightbulbs to guide us through the dark. For example…”Ok…so we’ve decided it’s a strategi game and that it’s all about figuring stuff out so you can get points to see more…but how do we awaken that interest? There has to be some incentive here. ” And after an intriguing discussion we came up with the advancement of our avatar’s bodily functions. The more you advanced into the game, the more power you had to transform your avatar into a fish if needed a.s.o. Yeah! I probably should mention that our game was about exploring the sea, but I still haven’t quite gotten a grasp on Nina’s project, so I don’t feel comfortable on dwelling on the details here, yet. But…back to my point. When Nina and I were discussing this stuff, I really wasn’t paying attention to what the other players were doing at all. And when it was our turn we really didn’t think strategically at all…it was just more like “Let’s toss a coin – trade a card or buy an asset!” – and then we discussed some more. When it was time for us to ‘pitch’ our game to the ‘producers’ I hardly knew what cards we had or what they meant for that matter. I was completely oblivious to the rules of the game and I was much more excited about our ideas and how they might work.
However! It was really inspirational hearing the other’s ideas. And I was so impressed because the others played by the rules. They had their cards in their hands and laid them on the table one after one after they used them in their ‘pitch’. Anyways…I thought it was interesting. I had such a good time playing, but with complete disregard of the rules, well…most of the rules at least!

Funcom stock up 30%

And rightly so, in my opinion! Good for them! But, I mean, seriously…is there any doubt that it will continue to rise? I mean…Dreamfall and Age of Conan right around the corner!

Today, Funcom’s stock has doubled it’s value since they first went public! If I had money, I’d invest!

I found all this in Dagens Næringsliv (Norwegian Financial Times) who has a very peculiar article about this. They’ve quoted a stock analyst, roughly translated it says:
“The company is releasing “Dungeons and Dragons” already, and this should give a good indication of how much these types of games will attract. I think it’s much higher than what we’ve predicted” – Ole André Hagen from ABG Sundal Collier.

Now…I think it’s only really badly written! I don’t think he meant to say that Funcom’s releasing Dungeons and Dragons (extremely charming NYT article about Turbine’s attempts to bring the gameplay joy from the original D&D to MMORPG form) – I think he just meant to say that it’s coming out now and it will indicate how well Age of Conan will do!

I think they’ll blow everyone out of the water with Age of Conan. I’m excited to see what it’s going to do to World of Warcraft, though! I mean…do you want to be playing two MMORPGs at once? I’ve done it and it’s very confusing and you definately will suffer a painfull social death (not counting the MMORPG sociability of course!). So…is Age of Conan going to steal players from World of Warcraft or are even more people going to start playing? It’s very exciting to see what’s going to happen in the future with MMORPGs!

Over 220,000 identities reported stolen!

Apparently a war has broken out in Lineage!

“More than 220,ooo South Koreans have reported to police that their identities have been stolen” (Game Politics).

And it seems the Chinese are to blame. They’re stealing these Lineage identities to do some serious gold farming, apparently. So the Koreans are fighting back by slaughtering anyone who doesn’t ‘speak’ Korean. Well…you know…that seems reasonable!

Personally, I can’t get over the fact that South Koreans can report to the police that their ‘identities have been stolen’! I love that!

As for the war thing…jeeez! Scary stuff, huh?

SXSW

Awww…the pain!! The pain! Austin is just THE PLACE TO BE March 10-19! The SXSW interactive is just looking better and better and oh how I wish I could be there!!!

Oh to be a millionaire student!!! Ofcourse I’d never really finish my thesis if I were to go to all the conferences I wanted!

But yeah…there’s a whole SXSW music festival going on the same week as well!
The truely marvelous The Real Ones will be playing! I recommend all you lucky people attending to check them out! I completely understand the ‘finding the time’ issue this week, but I don’t feel sorry for you! Take the time for these wonderful musicians, you definately won’t regret it! And it will give me some strange piece of comfort to think of Burnie Burns, Danah Boyd, Peter Ludlow, Mark Wallace and Tony Walsh jumping up and down in musical ecstacy to Bergen‘s musical heroes!