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Showing posts from 2013

Player Immersion and Narrative in Skyrim

There are many game theory topics to discuss when talking about Skyrim but I feel as if I have neglected two of the most important topics of video game theory. There are two things for me that really make a game worth playing. One is a great narrative that can vary and the other is player immersion in the game.
One thing that I never had much of a chance to discuss about Skyrim is the narrative. There are a few main story narratives that tell a pretty decent story, but what is really impressive is the option for someone to complete side quests that add to the main story or add to the characters personal story. In Skyrim, you have the option to be what you want to be from the very beginning. You can side with either faction or side with no faction. You can be a mage, a warrior, a master thief, or a combination of these. You don't even have to complete the main story line; you can carve out your own story with side quests. There is also narrative in the form of cut scenes. there is …

League of Legends and Gaming Theory... Unite!

Every time I start to make a post on this blog I think  "What game should I discuss? What is something I want to write about?" and I give myself the same answer every time, League of Legends. Yet I always decide that I should avoid it because Half-Real doesn't apply to League (<---Very wrong), but after essentially looking for any excuse to geek over League and flipping through the book again I realized it could have actually been the ideal example to so many parts of the book, and a near perfect example in many cases. It was as if Teemo had Q'd me with his Blinding Shot and I could not see how this book had anything to do with a no narrative unconventional game like League of Legends

    League of Legends is a part of a insanely fast growing sub-genre of Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games called Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or MOBA's and is currently the most played video game in the world. The basics of League can be summarized by using Juul's three r…

The Hero is the God

Over the course of the five weeks I have learned many new things about games and particularly video games; the definition of what makes a game (structure, rules, storyline, playtime, etc.), the flow of time both in the game and in real time and how it effects playtime (Half-Real, Juul, 6-7...141-156), debating the effectiveness of cutscenes, and personal opinions on the value of certain games. Probably the best part of the course was reading the novel “Ready Player One” by Earnest Cline; it was an excellent book which delves into the pros and cons of the players’ immersion into gaming, and the power of play. In fact this book is what inspired my final project here which I look into playing video games as a form of playing “God”. Let me explain, in the story there is a MMOG (massively mulitiplayer online game) OASIS that almost every person in the dystopia world of 2044. The creator, James Halliday, dies and leaves in his will game of hunting for the ultimate Easter Egg to win the enti…

Narrative with a Side of Gaming Theory, Please. (Final)

The horror genre has a very special place in my heart. From the time I was young, I valued horror among all other genres. Maybe it was my eldest brother who got me into it by locking me and my siblings in his room to watch him play horror games… in the dark. All of the monsters that twisted its way to the screen, each innocent little girl who turned evil, and every dark hallway that held surprises in each room and maybe even under the grates that you were walking on provided a lot of nightmare fuel. But what makes these games just so damn good? Well, narrative of course! 
Laura Parker of Gamespot.com wrote a very intriguing article with a lot of references to popular game theorists and others that were giving their two cents on video games as a storytelling medium. “We tell stories through words, music, art, and dance; we record them on paper, paint them on canvas, and capture them on film. And now, thanks to video games, we can interact with them. When we play a game we are not mere…

Playing Mass Effect while reading Ready Player One

First, this book has completely drawn me in and if it weren't for work I would spend all day reading it. Maybe it is supposed to draw you in so completely and that got me thinking about how video games are a source of escape from the monotonous nature of real life. In Ready Player One, the virtual universe, OASIS, is the number one played or accessed online program--period. Wade spends almost all of his time logged into the OASIS, either attending class or conducting research that may lead him to a clue regarding Halliday's Easter Egg. I am currently only a little ways into the book but so far the way the OASIS is said to immerse users into the virtual world reminds me of how I feel when I play Mass Effect. A lot of the time I feel like I am the one running around doing the quests, not the avatar Shepard. I will start playing and then, after what feels like maybe 10 minutes, I will look up and see that hours have gone by. Like Wade with the OASIS, I feel like Mass Effect has g…

Platform Evolution

In Jane McGonigal's talk on TED, she compared the time gamers dedicate to playing to the time it took for humans to stand up right. She said that the time gamers spend on gameplay is, in it of itself, a form of cognitive evolution. I agree with this aspect of gaming because I see it in every gamer's experience. People are exposed to different genres of games and therefore develop or "evolve" to master that game. This change is caused by the very evolution of games themselves.

 Jesper Juul commented in his book, Half-Real, that games have drastically changed since the very first recorded form of gameplay, Senate. Many games are computer based now and have gone through several genres like arcade to home console. In fact, I believe that there is already a huge gap in the evolution between arcade games and console games. There are many people, like myself, who play console games that were originally formatted for older arcade style gameplay. Then there are people who gre…

Female Roles in Games

One of the things that attracted me to Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door was the fact that on the cover they had female characters. And when I read up on it, that Mario has female companions to help him the battles. This is something that is rarely scene even in newer video games. Most video games (especially violent ones) are notorious for the macho male roles and women as the damsels. As a female I have always found this irritating since I despise most “damsels in distress” that awaits for their man to rescue them. Not that I’m saying it’s wrong, I’m just the type of girl that would rather fight my own battles and kick ass than wait. This is one of the reasons why I don’t like many of the first person shooter games because it does not allow you to select a female to play. So, I decided to play Paper Mario: TTYD because I thought it would actually maybe surmise some of these tropes among video games (especially Mario’s) however, it still lacked very much. I figured on the whole res…

The Greatest Game Ever Made

Comprised Reality within Introversion Software

Upon starting Introversion's Darwinia, a chance encounter with an alternate form of the developer's opening credits conveys an unsettling theme.  Similar to the method in which a computer lacking an operating system would run, a basic, .dos-esque screen flickers, revealing only a brief mention of the game's developer, before introducing the player to the digital world of the program's namesake.  Likewise, DEFCON disregards any acknowledgement of the game's fiction, suggesting rather that the quality of the player's abilities may have real implication in the near future.  Both worlds, though entirely imaginary, genuinely strive to convince the player of their "role without stakes" by acknowledging the electronic medium:  In Uplink, the game's A.I. recognizes that the "player" (designated only as a hacker) has been provided access to these fictional servers via a remote computer, further identified via the player's actual I.P. ad…

Video Game Addiction: Real Worlds and Fictional Rules

According to Juul, a video game is based on real rules and fictional worlds. I see this as very true. However, as with all things, there is a psychological component that leads to a deep love of games. Video games are a way of escaping the reality that many face. In psychology, we learn that a reward/punishment system is present in most all stimuli. I focused on this for the past week. Playing games, it is easy to see the addictive component that many are starting to face. I decided to play a game as long as I could, with no breaks. Clearing my schedule, turning my phone off,and covering the windows of my apartment, I turned on Mass Effect. I started with the first one, with a study on video game addiction called "A Qualitative Analysis of Online Gaming Addicts in Treatment" in mind, I started playing. With no idea of the time, I simply played. As soon as I beat the first one (DLC's included), I popped in Mass Effect 2.
Being a much longer game, I started to feel time…