Thursday, 8 March 2007

week 5

In this journal I want to talk about pleasure of rewards in the computer games. As stated by Hallford & Hallford in games and in life, we all have preferences of outcome. We will engage in choice making so long as we believe one choice provides more benefit to us than another (2001, p.157). In computer games , ‘the player goes to a predetermined place or person in order to receive a reward for their efforts.’(2001, p.181) Hallford et al present 4 different types of rewards (2001, 157-160):
Reward of Glory: ‘Glory rewards are all the things you are going to give to player that have absolutely no impact on the gameplay itself but will be things thy end up taking away from experience’’ (2001, p.158). It can include, for example winning the game by getting all the way to the end.
Reward of Sustenance: This kind of reward is given to players to keep all these things they have gained in the game so far. It can include, for example robot that remove curses or diseases.
Reward of Access: This reward allows a player to access new locations or resources that were previously inaccessible. The typical examples of this kind of rewards are: keys, passwords.
Reward of Facility: Reward of facility enable a players to do things they could not do before or enhance abilities they already posses. Rewards of facility can be new weapons or magic items.
Let us have a look how ‘Age of Empires’ apply to pleasure of rewards. ‘Age of Empires’ is an epic real-time strategy game in which players are challenged to build tribes into great civilizations. In this game players can choose from one of several ways to win the game. Reward of Glory can be: world domination by conquering enemy civilizations, explanation of the known world and economic victory through the accumulation of wealth. What about Reward of Sustenance? These reward include sources of gold, wood, iron and food. These all things make it possible for the player to keep playing. Thanks this reward the player can produce ,build and maintain units, like buildings, builders and soldiers. Reward of Access is here entering new territories, which previously were blocked by enemy nations. Lastly, we have Reward of Facilities, which is conected witch technology. It includes :economic upgrades ( increasing the rate of gathering resources), military upgrades( better armed and armoured units) and infrastructure upgrades ( for example: stronger fortification).


1. Hallford, N. and Hallford, J. (2001) SWORDS, CIRCUITRY: A Designer’s Guide to Computer Role-Playing Games , United States of America: Prima Publishing.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

week 4

According to Salen and Zimmerman in: - 72k –

the classical notion of a game implies that there is clear border between the game and the world outside the game – it presents Huizinga’s concept of the ‘ magic circle’. The magic circle of a game is delineation in time and space of the game’s existence. For example , the football match takes place only within the borders of the playfield , for a duration that lasts between the starting whilst and the final second of play. Salen and Zimmerman in ‘Rules of play’ suggests that ‘To play a game means entering into a magic circle , or perhaps creating one as a game begins’( ). The authors claim the ‘magic’ of circle is because of the ‘new reality’ it creates. Magic circle represents something very specific and ‘holding power’ of games.
The second concept, I want to explain in this journal is – lusory attitude. Suits claims that the lusory attitude is the attitude taken by the game players towards the playing of the game. He defines it as’ the acceptance of constitutive rules just so the activity made possible by such an acceptance can occur’. The players must choose to follow the rules of the game to perform the activity that the following of these rules creates. What is more the activity of game playing must be chosen voluntarily. ( - 28k)
Let us have a look how players of ‘ Mario 64’ adopt a lusory attitude and how they enter into the magic circle. Players enter into magic circle, because ‘Mario 64’ is outside ordinary world witch specific boundaries of rules. The ‘Mario’s’ world (game’s special frame) is very simple and consistent and if something exists in this world players can use it. Mario’s reality is also predictable. Players are given simple set of control and through this control they are expressive and interact through simple movement and small jumping moves. It is easy for players to plan for action. because new elements are introduced slowly. Lusory attitude requires a certain attitude. The ‘Mario 64’ requires from players to adopt arbitrary rules like understanding the world, making a plan, accumulating goals and then acting on it. In my opinion all these rules have need of players’ attitude and accepting these conditions (rules) make game play possible. The other elements of lusory attitude is that ‘Mario 63’ has no material benefit and the game is voluntary ( players are willing to play, not because they are forced.)

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

week 1

Defining games is a formidable challenge, if we consider all of the activities and objects, both on and off the computer. Salen and Zimmerman compare several definitions of game. Authors present Jasper Jull’s definition of game. Jasper Jull boils down different definitions into one:

‘A game is a rule-based system with a variable and quantifiable outcome, where
different outcomes are assigned different values, the players exerts effort in order to
influence the outcome , the player feels attached to the outcome , and the consequences
of the activity are optional and negotiable.’ (2006, p.80)

Let us have a look on Wittgenstein’s explanation of game. He states that games mirror family resemblances. How do we recognize that two people we know are related to one another? We can see similar height, eye colour, hair, nose, pattern of speech, mannerisms, etc. Here we just intuitively see the resemblances. Wittgenstein suggests that there is the same pattern of language. It is said in Wikipedia Encyclopaedia – ‘We are all familiar with enough things which are games and enough thing which are not games that we can categorize new activities as either games or not.’ Wittgenstein suggests, that games do not share the same features, but overlap similarities. For example, chess requires skills, no luck and it is competitive, while lottery requires luck but no skills and it is also competitive.
I will try to show how digital games, DOOM II and SAMORAST II apply to Wittgenstein’ theory. Both of them share certain similarities, but also have specific, ‘individualistic’ features. DOOM II is fast –paced shootem-up set in claustrophobic tunnels and hallways ,where player has to shoot down hundreds upon hundreds of monster., whereas SAMORAST II presents a simple point and click interface to control the space gnome and interact with the environment. Basically, the game involves solving puzzles on the screen. Both games require skills to play, however we can say that DOOM II is highly skilled and more competitive in compare witch SAMORAST II, which is easier to play and less competitive.


1.Salen,K. and Zimmerman, E. (2006) The Game Design Reader, A Rules of Play Anthology, Massachusetts.

Friday, 23 February 2007

week 3

As stated by Brian Sutton- Smith in Salen et al(2006, p.302, 3003) the word rhetoric is ‘ persuasive discourse, or an implicit narrative, wittingly or unwittingly adopted by members of particular affiliation to persuade others of the veracity and worthwhileness of their beliefs.’. The popular rhetorics are large-scale cultural ‘ways of thought'in which most of us participate in one way or another.
The larger play rhetorics are part of the multiple broad symbolic systems- political, religious, social and educational through which we build the meaning of the cultures in which we live.
On the lecture we were concentrated on ‘excessively sadic’ game, Manhunt. This violent game has caused lot of controversy, which was called ‘Moral Panics’. Kenneth Thompson in ‘Moral Panics’ states that moral panics are often symptoms of tension and struggles over changes in cultural and moral regulation.
Games similar to language, clothing and behavior reflect or express values and beliefs.
Let’s have a look at ‘Civilization II’. ‘Civilization II’ is turn-based strategy game. According to Ted Friedman ‘Civilization II’ is’ almost meditative state in which you aren’t just interacting witch the computer, but melding witch it.’This emphasis on cognition, applies to the turn-based strategy games, underlining computer’ games ‘ attractive to immerse us in their technologically- created world.
The game’s objective is to build an empire- by means of exploration, colonization, scientific research and diplomacy. There are two paths to victory in this game: firstly, to conquer every other civilization, secondly to build a spaceship and reach Alpha Centuari. ‘Civilization II’ has own values and rhetorics. First value, is importance to develop new technology (you can hold off victory to gain more points by researching extra technologies). The second value is that amusing a fortune is good. ( The scoring system measures how well you did. It means that the the higher the population of your civilization, the higher you can expect your score to be). The third value is that conquering others is good ( the sooner players conquers every other civilization the better as far as scoring is concerned). The ‘Civilization II’s rhetoric is: Expansion and Acquisition are good. As rhetoric attempts to persuade the audience of the truth or importance of these values and beliefs, in Civilization 2 there is a belief that the expansion and acquisition are ok. In opposite to Manhunt, in the Civilization II there is not use of violence and aggression. The rhetoric of representation is positive here.


1. Salen,K. and Zimmerman, E. (2006) The Game Design Reader, A Rules of Play Anthology, Massachusetts.
2.Wolf Mark,J.P and Perron,B.(2003) The Video Game Theory Reader, New York: Routledge.
3.Thompson, K. (1998) Moral Panics, Oxon: Routledge