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:
The spectacular Raph Koster’s written “The Ten Commandments of Online Worlds”, which is, as expected, insightful and adorable!
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.
But I don’t get nr. 9. Is that just Mr. Koster being funny or is there some kind of hidden humour behind ‘number nine’ that I just don’t get?
Henry Jenkins strikes again with an absolutely glorious post, “Are Games Art? Wii, I Mean, Oui!”, pointing out Timothy Burke’s great piece, “Middlebrow Video Game Criticism”, all about how we should look at and write about games. I still contest that one of the major reasons why we don’t see any fundamentally great game criticisms is because of the time needed to play through games, but I also agree with SuperHero Jenkins when he writes:
“Let’s agree that we do not yet have a very good vocabulary for discussing the ‘gameness’ of games and that’s why we get bogged down into endless debates about whether meaning comes from the story or from the game play mechanics. We neither have a technical language for discussing the particulars of games with any accuracy nor do we have an expressive language that evokes the experience of game play in ways that conveys its pleasures to people who have not yet played a particular title”
– too right!!!!
Which reminds me, I’ve been thinking alot about narrative descriptors (Salen and Zimmerman)in MMORPGs and basically narrowing them down to whatever describes the personality of the avatar (skillpoints, guilds, social network, fortune, property, name, infosheet etc), although I’m not certain that the avatar’s personality and history has anything to do with narrative at all – but it’s what I’m writing about at the moment – we’ll see where it all ends up.
Wonderland has pointed me in the direction of my next game download – A Quiet Weekend in Capri – which looks absolutely glorious – but my schedule has no room for playtime until Saturday – but oooh! Can’t wait! A real place – a ‘real’ game!
Mark Wallace has managed to build on my gaming insecurity (have I played enough?) by mentioning ‘cloning’ as a gameplay mechanism in Alpahville, The Sims Online – which I have to admit I NEVER encountered! I came across people pretending to be other players, but not actual cloning like this. He has an interesting comparison with an incident on MySpace which is ofcourse cleverly insightful – but I do sometimes worry about people taking virtual gaming worlds a bit too seriously – we mustn’t forget that these are ‘fun zones’ – and we should be looking out for protecting the rights of ‘fun’ as well as the human rights in virtual spaces!
Speaking of which, Julian Dibbell’s book, “Play Money” is soon out, at least pre-ordering is available!
In other words, lots of great stuff out there!!! Hmmm – could I get a job as a professional surfer?