Just a heads-up

  • Chris Bateman’s got a list of the nine basic player types discussion going on at his blog, Only A Game, which is very interesting – I’m always very tickled by the names people use to describe player types. He’s got the conqueror, manager, wanderer, participant, hoarder, zoner, juggernaut, monster and hotshot. The difficult thing about creating player types is that it becomes hard to distinguish between a play method and a player ‘type’, at least that’s what I found in my work. For example a conqueror may easily use one of a hoarder’s play method – but is not a hoarder because of it, she is still a conqueror. This confused me, but it seems Wise Mr. Bateman’s got a good handle on things – I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with. The really interesting part was the beginning of the post:

Below you will find descriptions of nine hypothetical player patterns that
I would expect to find by examining the gaming audience in terms of the
following three areas: Caillois’ patterns of play,
Agon, Alea, Mimicry
and
Ilinx, plus Ludus and Paidia. No study has ever been conducted on player attitudes to these patterns, and I believe it could be useful.
Emotions. Not just the ones Nicole Lazzaro reports in her Four Keys Model (which of course I adore), but all the emotions that might apply: Sadness/Agony, Anger, Surprise/Fear, Disgust/Contempt, Amusement, Contentment, Excitement/Relief, Wonder, Bliss, Fiero, Naches, Elevation, Gratitude, Schadenfreude, Guilt/Shame, Embarrassment, and Envy. Plus emotion-like behaviours such as Curiosity, Belonging and Greed. (See
here for more information). I expect to broadly validate the Four Keys model, strengthen the implied connection between Anger and Fiero, and demonstrate further connections previously unexplored such as Amusement outside of People Fun and Contentment as a key play emotion previously overlooked because of the method used for Four Keys. Skills (derived from Temperament Theory), namely Strategic, Tactical, Logistical and Diplomatic skill sets.

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Columbine game is all about art!


It’s funny how certain tragic events can spawn new luscious things!

There’s been a whole lotta uproar these past few weeks because Super Columbine Massacre RPG was pulled as a finalist from the Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition.

Personally, I can’t believe they waited for it to get so far only to pull it off the list – which makes me rather suspicious. They write that:

“There are always legal checks and balances with any Slamdance program. Specifically with the subject matter of Super Columbine Massacre Role Playing Game Slamdance does not have the resources to defend any drawn out civil action that our legal council has stated can easily arise from publicly showing it.”

Man! Capitalist society can be such a ruthless freedom-of-speech stomping evil dictatorship!

Then, other game developers start pulling their games from the festival in an act of solidarity. TGC (thatgamecompany) explained it very nicely:

“As game designers, each project we have done so far, and plan on doing in the future, aims at showing games as a serious and expressive medium. We cannot help but wonder, if SCMRPG were a film, if the reaction by the Slamdance organizers would have been the same. Removing it from the festival is discouraging, because it implies that games are still not to be taken seriously, that games are only for mindless fun. If we are trying to work against this stigma as artists, then we also have to fight against this stigma as entrants in the festival as well.”

So this incident has really triggered an inspirational discussion about games as art! Which I think is really exciting! And my heart pounded even more when I read Clive Thompson‘s excellent piece, ‘I,Columbine’ in Wired this week! I don’t think I’m exaggerating by saying it’s the best artistic critical analysis of a game I have ever read!

You’re constantly reminded of how creepily unbalanced Harris and Klebold were. One minute they’re tossing off nihilistic riffs: “When I’m in my human form, knowing I’m going to die, everything has a touch of triviality to it,” Klebold muses. The next minute they’re quoting Shakespeare: “Good wombs hath borne bad sons.

I’m having a hard time pulling out quotes because it’s all so relevant and good – but I’ll paste this one in just in case you don’t read the whole thing – but you really should! It’s a beautiful beginning of art criticism in games!

“It uses the language of games as a way to think about the massacre. Ledonne, like all creators of “serious games”, uses gameplay as a rhetorical technique.”

Gameplay as rhetorical technique! I love it!!!

It’s tragic that Slamdance felt they had to pull it from the competition – but I’m loving the discussions that have spawned from it!

Age of Conan

Nils and I are pretty much at uni now 24/7 trying to finish our stuff – and breaks are filled with dreamy fantasies of what life is like on the other side of this tiresome tunnel! So naturally we’re talking a lot about games. So we’ve been looking into Age of Conan. Man! It looks awesome! I’m still worried that my testosterone levels aren’t high enough for truly enjoying it, but I had a look at the Age of Conan wiki – and my heart started racing with excitement! 60% of that was probably just the enjoyment of the hope of being able to play again – but listen to this:

“We call the engine Real Combat, and it is based on six directions, or ways, of attacking an opponent with a sword. First, you can hack down against the head. Second, you can slash diagonally down from the right, while the third is slashing the same way from the left. Fourth, you can thrust against the torso. Fifth, you can slash diagonally up from the left, and sixth, you can slash diagonally up from the right. The point here is that these directions lend themselves naturally to being strung together in combinations. These combos unlock additional damage and faster combat, if done well.”

– Gaute Godager

What fun!!!! And it looks freakin’ awesome!!!

Additionally we were blessed by Marius Enge’s presence on Thursday. It was supposed to be an hours lecture but ended up being about 2 hours. What an absolutely delightful man. He was just so informative and answered annoyingly stupid questions (from yours truly) clearly and inspirationally. He informed us a bit about how Funcom works internally and I just sat there thinking “I WANNA WORK AT FUNCOM, I WANNA WORK AT FUNCOM, I WANNA WORK AT FUNCOM!! SOD THIS ACADEMIC BULL – I WANNA WORK AT FUNCOM!!! I BELONG AT FUNCOM!!!”.

He was there to talk about the AI in the game, which was amusing even to me, who understood 1/100th of the content.

I could go on and on – but I need to run! Have an absolutely great weekend, all!!!!