Author Archives: jdabrows

Green and Gold’s Big Adventure

As promised, here is the link to my Scratch game: Green and Gold’s Big Adventure

NOTE: I am having trouble jumping down from the gray platforms in the online player – it works fine in Scratch. If you choose to download the game to play in Scratch remember to CLICK THE GREEN FLAG before you begin (otherwise the sensors and characters will not synchronize).

**This is a two-player game.**
Although it is possible to beat the game with just one player manipulating both characters, the whole point is teamwork and cooperation so grab a friend before you sit down and play!

There is a half-second delay on all key presses so if a key press does not seem to work immediately, be patient and try again in a moment if necessary. Similarly, pressing the same key over and over (or pressing and holding a key) while “carrying” the other character may cause the character on top to fall off so be careful.

You may be wondering about the colored blobs on the corners of Green and Gold – this is a sensing mechanism so I can tell where the characters are in relation to their environment. I was hoping to be able to hide the blobs but the method I used means two characters cannot both have hidden colored sensors and still be able to register each other. If possible, I hope to rectify this problem in future versions.

Please let me know if you have any problems with the online Scratch player (like my inability to jump down from the gray platforms), or find any other bugs, by emailing me <>. Thanks!

Final Project

Jeanette: I would like to create a game which I think is missing from the current video game market – a cooperative, two-player casual game (probably a puzzle game or series of small mini-games). No problems thinking of the concept – the real challenge will be actually creating the game!

Michelle: I haven’t started working on my project nor have I given it much thought. I do know that I am kind of interested in interactive games, so I think that I might want to find an interesting interactive game and study the gameplay of it. 

There’s still a lot to do and think about before I decide on a particular game. I’m in the works of finding one.

Evidence of Everything Exploding

At the risk of giving away the content of my inquiry #3…

I was pleasantly surprised while playing Jason Nelson’s Evidence of Everything Exploding (EoEE) – in fact, I was even having fun(!) Since the game-play followed generally accepted 2-D videogame rules (for example, the goal is to reach the end of the level) and physics (pressing the up arrow causes the player-character to travel up on the screen), there was no exploitation of pixelation or glitches in the game engine, and player actions follow what is promised by the instructions on the game’s homepage, I found EoEE more similar to conventional games than Galloway’s “countergames.” The only countergamic aspects I found in EoEE were a foregrounding of the artist’s picture in level nine, his voice and hands in the matchbook videos and final level video, directly asking the players to email the artist in the “anti-intermission,” and Nelson’s attempt to make an artistic statement through his “art creature/digital poem” (what I see as a sign of Galloway’s “radical action”).

I enjoyed how the levels increased in difficulty and that each level had a unique background image, enemies, “harmless” enemies, and music. I though the matchbook videos at the completion of each level had an interesting similarity to traditional “cutscenes,” although the matchbook videos had no impact whatsoever on the narrative structure of the game. My only big complaint is that, as an artistic message, I felt Nelson missed the mark. He may have been trying to convey a statement on our culture’s obsession with conspiracy and tendency to force connections between disparate ideas or documents, but if he wants his message to be effective he needs to make it more accessible to the average person. The juxtaposition of images, video, and text without a clear, coherent thread or meaning may make for an interesting game-experience but does not leave the player with a satisfied feeling/learned moral upon completion of the game.

Mightier and Auditorium

In honor of my last Seeker posting, I have found not one, but two interesting links:

(1) Mightier – a game where you are allowed to completely customize both the gameworld and your character by drawing on the screen (or by drawing on a piece of paper and scanning it in using a web camera). After our discussion on Tuesday about strongly sexualized player-characters like Lara Croft, it is interesting to wonder what player-characters male and female gamers will create if given complete creative control?

(2) Auditorium – a fun, abstract music/puzzle game. This game incorporates music directly into the game (rather than music being a static soundtrack like in many other video games), and also allows for many possible solutions to each puzzle.

Textual Adventure Games

When Professor Sample first mentioned “textual adventure games” I immediately thought of the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure series that I loved back in middle school. In the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books you are given the perspective of the main character and every page presents you with a decision; based on your choice you flip to another page in the book and follow this progression until your character either dies or completes the story-line. Within each thin novel there are countless ways to arrive at a variety of conclusions.

After playing a couple of computer-based interactive fiction games (“Aisle” and “Lost Pig”), it seems like these are Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books taken to the next level. Instead of being restricted to a couple of options per page, the player is free to look around, ask questions, or interact with objects within the game world. This brings a whole new dimension of interactivity with the narrative of the game.

Both book-based and computer-based textual adventure games force the player to use their imagination to form the game world. From black text on a white background, the player can (with some help from the game designer) explore a cave, stand in a grocery store aisle, or help a troll find a lost pig. It seems plausible that modern graphic-game designers rely too heavily on flashy graphics with weak story-lines and thus remove the player’s ability to form a mental game-world of his or her own creation. I find this very sad as the creation of a mental game-world was always one of my favorite parts of reading the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure series.

RE: Reading Galloway

My biggest confusion was actually not a passage written by Galloway, but a passage Galloway quotes by Jacques Derrida on page 26:

“If totalization no longer has any meaning, it is not because the infiniteness of a field cannot be covered by a finite glance or a finite discourse, but because the nature of the field – that is, language and a finite language – excludes totalization: this field is in effect that of a game [jeu], that is to say, of a field of infinite substitutions in the closing of finite group. This field only allows these infinite substitutions because it is finite, that is to say, because instead of being an incommensurable field, as in the classical hypothesis, instead of being too large, there is something missing from it: a center which arrests and grounds the play of substitutions.”

Infinite, finite, that is to say – every time I try to puzzle out the meaning of these sentences, my mind starts turning in circles. I feel like the information he is trying to convey is important, but the convoluted sentence structure is hiding its meaning from me. Without understanding a passage which Galloway quotes to support his argument, I have no hope of fully understanding Galloway’s argument.

A Different Perspective on the Military and Games

We talked a lot last week about the military’s impact on the history of video games and on the content of video games, but I want to point out a connection between the military and video games that most people don’t think about – using video games to teach soldiers foreign languages. My dad is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force and he wrote his Ph.D dissertation a couple of years ago on the Tactical Language & Culture Training System, particularly its use of video games to teach Arabic (you can read his full 136 page dissertation here).

I feel this aspect of military training is often overlooked in favor of the more violent weapons and combat training, but that does not make it any less important. In this era of global combat, it is vital that soldiers be able to communicate and interact with foreign peoples. Video games are an especially effective way to train young male recruits who probably already play video games in their free time, so video game-based language training doesn’t seem like a chore and can better keep their interest. Video games’ interactive environment also suits language learning well, since responding to game challenges and practicing new vocabulary within the game reinforces the player’s new knowledge.

It is undeniable that the military has had an effect on the rise of violent, combat-based games, but we should not forget to also appreciate the military’s influence on incredibly popular computer-based learning systems such as Rosetta Stone.

1KBWC and Other Nomics

I was intrigued by the game “1000 Blank White Cards” we played in class this past Thursday – what it was like to play a game where the rules could change halfway through, how few materials it took to create a completely original, never-been-seen-before game, and whether a game like that could actually be fun. After a little bit of research, I found “1000 Blank White Cards” can be considered a nomic, or a game in which the rules of the game include mechanisms for the players to change those rules (definition from Wikipedia). The original game Nomic was created in 1982 by philosopher Peter Suber and you can read the complete rules and description here. After a little more research, I came across Jacob Davenport’s blog post on Nomic, where he talks about trying to create a nomic with his friend Elliot. After a while they start to argue about how many rules they really need to begin a nomic, which begs the larger question “how many (or few) rules do you need in order for what you’re doing to be considered a game?”