Category Archives: Uncategorized

Still Alive

I don’t know if anybody still reads this, but Portal, the game Carly covered in her presentation, is free to play until May 24th~

Giants Give You Faith.

So I know we’re done with blogs, but I finally have something pertinent that I want to share. We were discussing Jane McGonigal’s lecture on how video games will save the world. She was discussing how we need it to begin translating to real life. After having this discussion in class I went to a concert in DC at Constitution Hall where Lights was playing. Lights is this chick from Canada who sings electro pop music and does her own thing. Anyways she was prefacing her song Lions! from her newer CD with the story behind it. Basically she wrote it about her experiences playing World of Warcraft. She is a big gamer and loves the game (she even has her sword in the game tattoo’d on her arm). She went on to dedicate the song to her Guild who came out to support her, but anyway the point of this post is that the task McGonigal has before her isn’t impossible. With games, their lessons, the skills gained, and the beliefs learned infiltrating society all around us with a “I can apply the gaming world to my life” attitude, McGonigal’s aspirations will happen in no time. Lights is a bunch of people’s role model. The tides are turning and McGonigal isn’t the only one working towards this goal (whether Lights realizes it or not). Lights has hundreds of people learning from her and that will take the messages learned in WoW and other video games and will apply them to their own lives.

Happiness in Games?

The idea of Alternate Reality Gaming is quite revolutionary because it allows for cross-media interactions. Using emails, websites, and other communication mediums to put a story together give the games a life-like feel to them. Or is it considered a life which is game-like? The ability for these games encompass real environment, real people and realistic situations allows the game to have significant effect on the games.  When I started reading McGonigal’s article, I was a bit skeptical about what she was saying. How can anyone even think about defining happiness with 4 concrete ideas? That is absurd and quite controversial. I was irate over about her idea, however I kept reading things made more sense. First of all there is no way any game can ever provide or even amplify “happiness”. That’s just what I believe. There is much more to this abstract word than we think. However, McGonigal is quite clear about the effect of games on gamers. The attributes and skill sets that she had mentioned in the article were hard to deny. ARGs are quite different in terms of gameplay and can allow gamers to develop skills and ideas to a different level.

Casual games… not as simple as you might think

After reading casual revolution I tend to disagree with Jesper on several points.  First of all how he describes casual games.  He states that casual games are meant to be played for only minutes at a time when a person is bored.  The reason why disagree with this statement is because I don’t believe that gamers can be broken down into two simple categories.  Although I do believe that the categories Jesper creates are valid I don’t believe that they are the only ones that are out there.  There sites that are dedicated to putting out these casual games and I know some people who play these games are not hardcore gamers but will play these casual games for a lengthy amount of time.  I find this a weird occurrence because many casual games that are designed can be played for significant amounts of time, although not as much as “hardcore” games.

Another point that I disagree with Jesper on is on how casual games are all upbeat and happy.  I have seen several games on sites that set a very dark and foreboding atmosphere for their players.  I have also noticed that when casual games have this dark atmosphere it tends to increase playing time.  I can’t explain it but for some reason people would play longer if the plot of a game resembled “hardcore” games instead of the the light and carefree atmosphere that most “casual” games have.

Final Project

For my final project I am looking at Jason Rohrer's game "Cultivation". 
Rohrer developed this game to stimulate a non-violent conflict setting. 
The game will be interesting to analyze both as a videogame and as an art form/statement.
The trouble I am having right now is finding a balance between an analysis of core mechanics verus the "deeper meaning behind the game".
Also, playing the game may pose difficulties. There are no walkthroughs and I keep ending up in the middle of a lake with no way to get back to land...
Anyways, with so many different concepts and theories it will be difficult to decipher the most applicable ones. Only time will tell the outcome...

Final Project…?

I really have not decided concretely on any specific topic. I want to use the Sims 3 to explore societal impact and something along those lines. I know there are a great deal of scholarly resources on the topic as I ran into them while working on the inquiries. I think that the platform is high enough and know that I would definitely have to narrow my topic down to actually be able to make an argument that can be presented in 6 minutes and 40 seconds. The narrowing will come once I’ve been able to explore the game a bit more. The reason I chose this is because I don’t have any systems here at school. I have my N64, but not many good games (my brother lost them all :/ what a n00b). I have my laptop and Sims 3 and also the regular Sims with the expantion packs so I could contrast them in that capacity as well. I think the most difficult thing will be narrowing topic because the Sims is such a broad game with a great deal of societal impact.

Final Project

I have been searching for a game to analyze yet I still havent decided on what game I would be using for my paper. I am sure of how I am going to write about the game and analyze it. In order to get started on my research I have to establish a game to begin with. I have played couple of PC games but did not think that I would be able to get much out of them. Therefore, I dont have questions yet since my project has not gone that far yet. Hopefulll I am able to establish on the game soon to have questions about the process.

The Beatles: Rock Band / Rock Band or Guitar Hero games in general

In thinking about what games to work on for my final project, I decided upon The Beatles: Rock Band as it is the game that has most affected me in the past few years. I have decided to focus on three main points. First, how the creation of the game incorporated many key figures from the Beatles including Paul, Ringo, Dhani Harrison, and Giles Martin, which stylistically, artistically, and kinetically affected the gameplay in significant ways. Second, I’ll focus on how The Beatles: Rock Band has brought The Beatles to a whole new generation of fans which might have otherwise not been introduced to the Beatles. Finally, I’ll write about how The Beatles: Rock Band and other rhythm games in general have helped to bring those not very interested in videogames to games. Depending on how the paper goes during the writing process, I may choose to focus more on certain areas, or exclude an area as I see fit. Perhaps my only question would be is this too broad of a focus, and should I concentrate more specifically on only one or two aspects of the game?

Final Project Videogame

I chose to study the game, ‘Manhunt 2’ for my final project. The system I chose to focus on is the Nintendo Wii. The reason that I chose this game is because of the controversy surrounding its gameplay- specifically on the Wii. The game is very violent, and requires the user to copy the motions of the lead character while he murders a slew of nurses, doctors, and various other people. So far, I have played the game myself, have watched others play the game, and have also tried playing the game on the PSP. I have been thinking about what I will talk about for my final project, and I think I will most likely focus on the difference in gameplay from system to system, and why the Nintendo Wii version of the game has caused the most uproar. When I watched others play the game, I found their reactions to be very interesting, so I wanted to talk about that as well. The more I play this game and research this game, the more I find to talk about.

My next step is to start looking for academic sources which focus on violence in videogames. I will also be looking for articles in newspapers and magazines that talk about the controversy surrounding this game.

Pokemon Snap!

For my final project, I have decided that I want to look at the game Pokemon Snap, which I enjoyed playing as a child and still occasionally enjoy playing. I haven’t begun researching what gamers/experts have to say about this game, so one of my concerns is that I won’t be able to find any scholarly articles about it. I am also unsure as to what aspect(s) of the game I want to highlight and what questions I want to ask of the game. However, I find it interesting that the game is from the point of view of a first person shooter, so perhaps that is one aspect of the game I can explore.

Final Project

My current idea for my final project is to build a prototype of a text-based life simulator. The main difference from something like The Sims is that this game would be focused not on minutiae of daily life like eating dinner and going to the bathroom but rather on the handful of decisions that we make day-to-day that are actually somewhat significant, such as choosing to study vs. hanging out with friends and so forth. Similarly instead of hunger, bladder, etc. the parameters would probably have more to do with the person’s overall mental state. The version that I would be actually making would be, because of time constraints, much simpler than the actual vision that I have in my head for a final product; in particular there would probably not be a parser, but instead you would just choose one of several options at each stage.

The main problems/questions that I have with this (that I can come up with at the moment; I know there are a few more that I’ve forgotten) are:

1. I have a feeling that this will be considerably more clouded by my own fairly recent experiences than I would like it to be. The eventual resolution of this would be by having others contribute their experiences, adding new extra events, adding a parser for increased flexibility, and in general making the code object-oriented (this first version will probably be simple enough to not warrant object-oriented programming).

2. I’m not sure where to go with this in terms of sources, really, but then I haven’t yet gone very far in that regard so that’s part of the issue.

3. I don’t really know about how this alternate project works exactly. Is there some kind of stage where they allow the class to play our game? If not, how exactly does the game aspect itself work–is the game and its driving focus what’s mainly interesting or is our analysis what’s mainly interesting?

And just to make this easy to identify in the vast swath of posts in the last and subsequent few minutes:

Ian Johnson

Half-Life 2: Finding the G-man

I wrote briefly about this in a previous blog post, but my final project will be on Valve’s 2004 dystopian opus Half-Life 2. I will go in-depth about the storytelling techniques employed throughout the work, focusing on a few things like the lack of cutscenes in the game, the silent protagonist, and the role of the mysterious G-man. This is one of the defining games of the last decade, so it’s only fitting that my final project tackle it.

Obviously, Half-Life 2 is part of a series that includes a prequel and various add-ons, but I will focus on Half-Life 2 on its own as a singular entity.

Final Project

I have yet to choose a game for our final project.  However, I have been thinking about the type of game I would like to do my project on.  Of all the types of games we have discussed in this class, I find interacted fiction and the social statement games (such as Save Darfur) to be the most intriguing.  However, I have yet to find a game that is suitable for my final project.  Anyone have any suggestions for games?…if not, I guess I better start looking.

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.

Har har har.

For the final project, I’m making a countergame. I have a good portion of it done already (thank you, three-hour-long politics class), but I’m not sure if I want to continue it. I have no programming or game-making skills at all, so I downloaded the Scratch program. It’s easy enough to use.

What I wanted to explore in my game is the whole social acceptance angle– how some games seem to offend people. How far will a person play a game if they’re being offended? If they don’t like the content?

The only thing I’m worried about is how the game is going to be graded. It’s a countergame so, you know, it’s not very good. I’d just like to know more about what kind of qualities it would be graded on, so I can make sure I’m not going completely off the mark.