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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Thanks!
This is a nifty little game I stumbled upon when reading Kotaku today. Entitled Super Mario Crossover, it’s Super Mario Bros. in its entirety(!) where instead of playing as Mario, you can play as the protagonist of other NES games–Link from The Legend of Zelda, Bill Rizer from Contra, Simon Belmont from Castlevania, Mega Man from… uh, Mega Man, and Samus Aran from Metroid. All the characters control exactly as they do in their respective games, so it’s interesting to see how their game mechanics mesh with the mechanics of the classic Super Mario Bros. formula. This reminds me of another game we played for HNRS 353, albeit in a much more cohesive, complete form.
Obviously I didn’t need to post this for the class, but I thought it’d be interesting provided what we studied this semester. And maybe if I’m missing some earlier blogs (not sure if I am or not), this’ll make up for it…
I stumbled upon this lecture on robotics and was reminded of the uncanny valley. The robots mentioned are impressive and quite emotive, but many still fall into the valley for me. The one ‘zeno’ robot featured around 4:30 is on the other side of the valley, with its cartoonish eyes and piecey spiked hair reminiscent of dragonball z.
Although I found multiple aspects of Jane McGonigal’s lecture to be discussion worthy, her reference to economist Edward Castronova jumped out at me-mainly because he was briefly mentioned in last Tuesday’s class, but also because I just find the concept of a virtual economist to be interesting. McGonigal’s mentioning of Castronova also stood out to me, because the quote that she offered made a logical point. She quoted Castronova’s point that “we’re witnessing what amounts to no less than a mass exodus to virtual worlds and online game environment.” Basically, Castronova explains that it makes sense for gamers to spend more time in games, because virtual reality provides an all-around better experience than the real world. I personally don’t agree with that statement, but I think I can understand how some gamers could come to feel that way…life throws many difficult challenges at us, and I think games help provide a good mental escape. Anyways, I was intrigued by Castronova, so I tried to find a lecture or something by him. I found one on youtube, but the quality was bad and it honestly wasn’t too interesting. So instead, here is the link to his webpage..if you’re at all interested.
I was so incredibly impressed by Jane McGonigal’s presentation, that I decided I wanted to investigate her further. So as my link for this week I found her PhD dissertation entitled “This Might Be a Game: Ubiquitous Play and Performance at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century.” (In case I didn’t embed that right the URL is http://www.avantgame.com/dissertation.htm) According to the website, the entire text is 573 pages, so it would be quite the feat to read it all, however browsing through the first 4 chapters definitely gave further insight to her research.
I’m going to go ahead a say that I completely agree with Ms. McGonigal. Even reading through the first article by Frank Rose, I was completely enthralled by the bolded letters and understanding the pattern that it created. This was before hearing anything about the four things that games teach us like urgent optimism and desire for epic wins. I feel like what McGonigal is attempting to accomplish is taking our most fundamental, tried and true teaching mechanism and apply it towards todays problems – which is awesome. My main question would be how to get non-gamers to see the possibilities of this type of learning avenue? Obviously, I’m a fully invested gamer and completely buy into the benefits that they can provide on an individual as well as a larger level. However, there are many differing opinions just within our classroom regarding the significance of games. So I guess the big question is how do you get everyone to buy in?; because quite frankly, if everyone does, I think ARGs could be a phenomenal teaching tool.
Not to mention that her last name sounds like a teacher from Harry Potter, so she obviously has the power to change the world.
On Tuesday, we discussed the differences between casual games and hardcore games. We used a chapter from Jesper Juul’s book Casual Revolution to help differentiate casual games from hardcore games and define them as two separate entities.
What we didn’t discuss though was how hardcore games could have some casual game elements. Here’s a link I’ve found on a hardcore game having some casual game qualities:
This gets me thinking, are there any hardcore games that could be borderline casual games or games that share qualities of both hardcore games and casual games?
Just a followup on my earlier post about Roger Ebert and videogames. Here’s a video response that’s worth watching.
I found this great little counter-game a while ago called Chasm Spasm. Before you read anything I have to say about it, go play it. It only takes a couple minutes.
Chasm Spasm begins looking like any platformer-adventure game, and looks like it will be one for the ages. Then as soon as you try doing anything when the game starts, you fall into a chasm. How do you get out?! Press buttons frantically to try to figure it out. All you do is… spasm. Hence the name of the game. But you get such things as extra points, “ocelot bonuses,” and “SQUIDSTORM!” Really, you’re playing the game by failing to play the game.
I’m not going to pretend this game has any super deep meaning. It’s mainly just a humorous look into what people expect from games based on prior experience, and how to deal with games that seem “broken.” We realize that our expectations for Chasm Spasm are based on tons of other games that look like it, and when it’s not what we expected, we freak out.
I wonder if someone who’s never played a 2D platformer game would find Chasm Spasm not nearly as bewildering.
Disputed in Roger Ebert’s “Video Games Can Never Be Art”, Kellee Santiago has declared that videogames are in fact an art form. In light of recent readings, the following link illustrates Santiago’s philosophy as well as provides a super easy to understand diagram of core gaming:
Also, below is the website for “Casual Gameplay Design Competition 5”. Not all of the games featured match Jesper Juul’s basic elements of a casual game. See “Numbers Reaction 2”, for example. Comments and personal playing experience of this game has shown that the game is not necessarily “easy to play” in regards to usability, one of Juul’s elements. Do these games appeal to “stereotypical casual gamers”, as defined by Juul? Do they “sell to a casual audience”? Answers are, of course, subjective.
The really interesting part of the following link, however, is reading what changes the designer made to their game after reading given comments (“dRive” in particular). You can see how the game is becoming “more casual” or at least how it is changing in attempts to increasingly appeal to the casual gaming community.
Roger Ebert has long maintained that videogames should not be considered art, and he’s recently posted an elaboration of this argument on his blog. Video Games Can Never Be Art is worth the read, especially given our discussion on that subject. It’s also worth looking at the 500 or so comments he’s gotten (some of the comments are actually thoughtful).
Games to me are always a medium of entertainment that we can use to distract ourselves from the reality. Its just like watching TV, playing sports, or taking a nap. With just about anything, games should and must have limits and boundaries. When a game developer push the boundary but does not overcome it, the game has the potential to be successful but with controversy. However, when the boundary is crossed to a critical level, the game becomes more of a art form. Crossing the limit depicts the game to be more of a cultural message or political message than a simple game. The game played in class “September 11th and September 12th” are purely wrong games in different ways. Events such as September 11th should be left alone by game developers since it can offend so many people around the world. September 12th on the other hand is also wrong, since it depicts that a loss of a loved one causes someone to become a terrorist in the middle east. This kind of game would cause people to get the wrong idea about what exactly is going on around the world. Contrary to many beliefs, no one is brought up to be a terrorist anywhere. Instead, its the culture influences, economical background, misunderstanding of religious messages and years of political abuse cause people to behave the way they do toward the west. Most of the time we are limited to modern thoughts that limit us from understanding people of other cultures, ethnicity, and religion. And gamers and other artists takes advantages of this limited mindset to produce games and art to depict their own beliefs and ideas. For example, here is a game about specifically targeting a religion. This game targets not only the followers of the religion, but the prophets and the God as well. To me, thats going too far. If a non-western Muslim were to hear about this game they would be severely offended. If kids were to get their hands on this, what ideas and theories would get gain from this? I doubt that they will gain anything positive out of it. There is another game called Ethnic Cleansing, where the player must kill Ariel Sharon, the former Prime Minister of Israel, in order to prevent him from the dominating the world. During the game, the player must kill blacks, Latinos, and Jews to progress through the game. To me the idea of targeting specific race is a horrendous idea. This kind of development in a game crosses any emotional barrier people have and offend anyone playing it. Again, what would a preteen, teen or any young adult would obtain out of a game like this? The situation would be worse if the player had limited view on the world. Therefore, game developers should stop putting out ideas and views that are only shared by a minute fraction of this world. Instead, they should develop games that could entertain as well as put positive ideas into our communities.
While attempting to find some intriguing socially conscious games, I came across Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City. After starting off with a comic book-like introduction, it throws you into the world of a young girl who has been displaced from her original home in New Orleans. She falls asleep and then dreams about how she could have helped her mother when the Hurricane hit. I was impressed to see that this game had been sponsored by Microsoft and AMD, two huge technology companies. I’m interested to see where our talks go in the upcoming classes, as this is a type of game that I had never previously paid any attention to, but clearly is important enough to be well supported by major companies.
When looking for a link for the week, I first googled “socially conscious video games” which brought me to this article http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/e/content/shared/living/stories/2006/09/SERIOUS_GAMES_0906_COX.html
which is actually a very interesting comment of social video games. He mentioned a wide variety of topics covered by the video games and one of them was the Israeli-Palestine conflict. I was somewhat surprised by this, but suppose that I shouldn’t be; after all video games are made about controversial topics all the time. So I searched for the game and found “Peace Maker” whose slogan is “Play the News. Solve the Puzzle.” The object is to play through the game as the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President and try to bring peace to the nations before your term is over. The game incorporates actual news stories into it in an attempt to make it more real. Actions the player can take include giving speeches and listening to your advisors. You can also choose what level you want to play: calm, tense, or violent. In the game you can either win by achieve a two-state solution or you can lose.
Here is a link to the video for the trailer:
I found a game called The Simulator which is essentially a highly negative life simulator. I didn’t play past day 1, so I don’t know if there are any impacts to your actions (as there are in The Sims), but, well, it’s painfully realistic. Wake up, get ready, go to work (at McDonald’s, no less), actually do the work (only one choice once you get to work, as opposed to elsewhere), come home, eat dinner, go to sleep. If my assumption is correct, you do the same the next day too, with no changes (in contrast to the somewhat similar Everyday The Same Dream). Its almost complete lack of gameplay and its general character make it seem somewhat like an anti-game and somewhat like a conscious simulator. It also seems like the kind of thing that could be more easily modified than more complicated games and so might serve well as a forum game.
While searching for countergames online (which google did not cooperate with very well unfortunately) I came across a game entitled “Anti-Pacman” (Google responded slightly better to me searching under anti-games than it did to me searching under countergames). In the game, instead of controlling pacman, the player actually controls the four ghosts. The objective is to corner pacman with the ghosts before he can complete the level. This is a lot harder than it sounds since the player can only control where one ghost is headed at a time, and therefore needs to switch between ghosts quite frequently. To this point, the game seems like it is just a role reversal remake of the game, but there is one more catch: if pacman eats one of the ghosts (after turning them blue obviously) that the player is controlling, it does not respawn until one beats the level. This makes things extremely difficult, as one must always keep at least two ghosts alive in order to be able to corner pacman. While this game does not appear to be a true mod of another game, it is definitely a mod of the original idea of the game, and therefore is a countergame in some senses. Here is the url of the game if you would like to try it (for some reason it wouldn’t let me create a link to it, so you’ll have to copy and paste it into you browser window):
The game gets significantly harder after the first few levels (the speed of the game gets to be quite rediculous), so let me know if how far you’re able to get if you choose to play it.