Wednesday, 7 March 2007


Salen, K. & Zimmerman, E. (2004) The Game Design Reader, A Rules of Play Anthology. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Wolf, M.J.P. & Perron, B. (2003) The Video Game Theory Reader. London: Routledge.

Wolf, M.J.P. (2001) The Medium of The Video Game. Austin Texas: University of Texas Press.

Further Reading.

Copier, J. & Raessens. J. (2003) Level Up. Digital Games Research Conference. Netherlands: Universiteit Utrecht.

Herz, J.C. (1997) Joystick Nation. How Videogames Ate Our Quarters, Won Our Hearts and Rewired Our Minds. London: Little, Brown and Company.

Crawford, C. (2003) On Game Design. United States of America: New Riders Publishing.

Bogost, I. (2006) Unit Operations, An Approach to Videogame Criticism. London: MIT Press

gaming journal week 5 - pleasure, pain and play. - Interaction.

Games will always be a form of entertainment to any person; this universal appeal is what makes them pleasurable for us as gamers. What ever happens there will always be a demand for games no matter how old or young people are. This appeal of games is known as iteration. Caillois’s model talks about gaming as a “kind of basic typology for describing the orientation, combination, articulation, and characteristics of events.” (Caillois, Man, Play and Games, P 71 - 80.) So when we play a game we experience the competition, the chance, the vertigo and the simulation and this is why we continue to play the games over and over again.

When I was playing Need for Speed which I am generally forced to do by my boyfriend, I often find it a huge challenge but as I become more absorbed by my ability to complete the challenges I begin to enjoy it more and want to play it more until I reach a level that I cannot get past. I continue to try and complete the stage but my move from iterative to repetitive has started to become annoying as I know what is going to happen and the situation becomes impossible, but I will complete it! Wolf et al state “In gaming, the player enters a feedback loop in which she is both subject and object of her action. The pleasures of activity are combined and merged with the pleasures of passivity, and their dynamic balance is what is essential in grafting or inducing addictive experiences.” (2003, P. 214-215.) Sow hen I watch my boyfriend playing and he seems to zoom through the areas that I cant I try to do it again and again but sometimes the barriers of the game stop me for example time. By trying to play the game differently from previous times I then gain more pleasure because I am closer to my goal of completing the level. The reasons why I am trying so hard to complete the game is because I have been rewarded in previous stages by reaching the next level so continuing to find ways to beat the game in different ways that I have already tried will hopefully help me to finish the current level.

Word Count 377

gaming journal week 4 - homo ludens.

Huizinaga beliefs state that when we play a game we enter a magic circle. There are limitations within this circle. Salen et al state “As a player steps in and out of a game. He or she is crossing that boundary – or frame that defines the game in time or space.” (2004)

Although the magic circle is merely one example of Huizinga’s list of play-grounds, the term is used as shorthand for the idea of a special place in time and space created by a game.

I decided to apply the magic circle to Pac-Man. I have always loved this game ever since we got our first computer at home and it was one of the games we had on it. The game is brilliant, even though the concept is really simple unless you immerse yourself completely into it and concentrate really hard you are bound to loose. As the levels get harder you really need to step into the game because otherwise you will be caught out and have to go right back to the beginning. The boundaries within the game involve the timing and getting away from the enemy that eats you otherwise you will loose a live and have less chance of getting to the next level. The Lusory attitude did apply to Pac-Man as I was the player who wanted to take part in the game and I wasn’t able to do this until I had purchased/downloaded the game from the internet. I wanted to play the game as well so this enabled me to put my all into trying to do as well as I could on the levels. I managed to pick up the rules quickly and apply them into my style of playing, but then when I began to get bored I was easily able to leave the game and carry on as normal. But when bored I can always enter the magic circle when ever I feel like it.

Word Count 327.

gaming journal week 3 - Ban these evil games.

Sutton- Smith defines rhetoric as “A persuasive discourse, or an implicit narrative, wittingly or unwittingly adopted by members of a particular affiliation to persuade others of the veracity and worthwhileness of their beliefs.” (Salen et al. 2004 p. 9)

The popularity of gaming increases year by year. With new consoles and equipment available for gamers to use there is no wonder the demand for games is ever increasing. In the past five years the amount of genres available within games has grown considerably. The average age of gamers is 33 years old. 25% of gamers are over 50 years of age and 38% of all gamers are women. These surprising statistics allow manufactures to produce games for all audiences in different concepts for different gamers.

I decided to concentrate on manhunt as this created so much controversy with the press and players of the game. It was even blamed for the murder of a teenager. The game was released in 2004 by Rock star games also the creator’s of the extremely violent Grand Theft Auto. The game after being released was given an ‘R’ rating making it forbidden to sell or rent to anyone under the age of 18. The game is banned completely in Australia making demand higher.

My housemate has the game and after learning about it I asked if I could see if it was all it cracked up to be. It was extremely scary from the start, almost like going on a rollercoaster. Slogans like “Turn off the lights...” and “Get ready to kill…” Player options include Fetish or Hardcore are used for normal of difficult mode. The images for me were the worst for example dead bodies and scary looking clowns. Then players are able to act like the ultimate killing machine on a manhunt. In gamer jargon, Manhunt is known as a "stealth" game, meaning the player must sneak about and eliminate obstacles.

I feel that rhetoric can be applied to man hunt as it is basically implying that it is ok to kill in circumstances where you will not be stopped. There are no cultural values to make audiences believe that this kind of behaviour is wrong. I hated the game but maybe that’s because I am a girl, that kind of horror should not have ever been made available to children in the first place.

On the contrary being a girl I love the Sims. There is no negative rhetoric involved, it is child friendly providing you use the correct version and I feel a great learning tool for children to understand things about everyday life. Ok it is a computer game but at the end of the day there is no shooting or killing and it basically shows a virtual human being doing the same as we do. The intentions are straight forward and simple the game is easy and child friendly. At the same time it is calm and relaxed and does not influence players values beliefs or behaviour.

Word Count 400.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

gaming journal week 1- what are games?

Games are a distinctive cultural form, and they differ widely from say reading or television. Games tell us about human culture and are a part of human development. Games inform us of human culture and civilization. Theories are useful in relation to games and the concepts allow broad application, these applications allow us as people to understand other things. There are no characteristics that all games have. Copier suggests "In a very basic sense, the magic circle of a game is where the game takes place. To play a game means entering into a circle or perhaps creating one as the game begins. The circle of the game might have a physical component, like the board of a board game or the playing field of an athletic contestant. but many games have no physical boundaries- arm wrestling, for example doesn’t require much in the of special spaces or materials" (2003 p.17). Wittgenstein suggested that games don’t all have the same features but many have overlapping characteristics for example chess is very different to the lottery. Chess involves skill, no luck and is competitive. The lottery on the other hand is involves no skill, luck and is as well competitive. Although similarities are shared by both of the games they cannot be defined in the same way. He continues his argument by comparing games to a rope. He states that a rope is made of twisted fibres but no single thread. As well as this Wittgenstein uses family characteristics to compare games and also their definition. For example family members can share the same features like eyes, nose mouth and even the builds of their body. Similarly this is common within games like chess and the lottery both contain elements of competitiveness. Similarities are present but they are by no means identical. From this I have gathered that the actual concept of games has blurred edges and the meaning or definition is not entirely precise but saying this it is useful. I have decided to compare the brainteaser game spider solitaire to Doom II. Although they are both called games and have the similarity of skill and luck, there are individual traits that the two games include. Spider solitaire contains no competitive edge but it uses the skill of thought as well as luck. Without these factors there is no chance you could win. Within Doom II if playing against another player there is a high level of competitiveness and skill to kill the opposition before the other players or before you are shot yourself. There is eagerness within this game that is not in solitaire as it is a lot more laid back.

Although both games have similarities they are two completely different genre of game, the apparent similarities highlight the differences when playing the games.

Word count 466.