Thursday, 8 March 2007

week 4

In week 4 we looked at pleasure pain and play. The first thing we did was play a game called fishy in which you are a fish that get bigger every time you eat a fish smaller than you but if you go near a bigger fish you get eaten. Although the game is very simple it becomes very entertaining and addictive and I found myself wanting to beat my previous score every time I started again. In the lecture we looked at the reward flow iteration of playing games. I am going to look at the reward aspect. Firstly we looked at how playing games is not always fun. I find this very true when playing pro evolution soccer which is the game most frequently play in my spear time. When you start to lose lots of games its quite disheartening and can become painful to play. The same can be said for when I was playing doom 2, I became stuck on the 4th level and could not get any further and was playing the same part over and over with no success. We talked about the reason why we continue to play games when they become painful. Games tap into the brains reward circuitry, we looked at how games have very clear rewards, for example in pro evolution, the rewards for winning games is more money, a better position in the league, or possibly promotion to a new league. In doom 2 one of the first things you receive is health and amour which are small rewards within the game. I think this is why I keep playing pro evolution soccer even when losing because I know that if a play better next time round I will be rewarded for it. There are different types of rewards within games for example in doom you have rewards which aid your health and progression though the game such as new weapons and ammo. In pro evolution you receive points for victories which do not have direct repercussions all the time but help to go towards the overall total at the end of a season. The fact that the reward is virtual does not effect the game play which I think goes back to the lusory attitude. We become engrossed in the world of the game that we are not thinking materially, we are thinking within the magic circle of the game. When playing pro evolution I accept that my team is not going to be in the paper for winning the champions league, but the rewards within the game are still satisfactory because of the fact that are brains are wired to seek out rewards. Therefore this backs up the point that people will

week 3

In week 3 we looked at how games are a subset of play. Basically we looked at how games involve play, in the way that games have characteristics such as they are competitive, they are rule based and there is some skill involved. A good example of this in the way of digital games would be pro evolution soccer, which is a football simulation game. The game much like a real game of football is very competitive especially when there are two or more players, there are is a set list of rules and the game takes practice to master the skill of it.
. We looked at how play and games can for fill a desire to compete and win. Everyone likes to be good at something and win, know one likes to lose. We looked at why this is by looking at the aesthetics of play and try to deceiver why we like to play, why is it fun, why do we enjoy it so much. In my own opinion, I believe that play calls out to a basic instinct within all of us just like the instinct to gather food. Play is needed to take a break from ordinary life, it something that is not essential to survival as a species but this is what I think makes it fun. We looked at how play is outside ordinary life and how it promotes social groups. Although we do not gain anything physical or material from play it helps us to step outside of normal life and help stimulate are minds and helps to strengthen social bonds. digital games of sports are very good examples for this, such as smash court tennis , a game I rented out to try. The game is voluntary, I can play whenever I want, its outside ordinary life, in real life I would never be playing the worlds best tennis players at Wimbledon, it has fixed boundaries which are basically the rules of tennis, and when playing it with my flat mates it helped to promote the social group, with people cheering each other on and becoming competitive about it.
we also looked at the lusory attitude theory which basically states that games, are insufficient and a waste of energy as we get no material benefit but we must accept this in order to enjoy games. In doing this we enter what is referred to as the magic circle, a place we enter in the game were special rule apply in appliance with the game were we can do things we cant do in real life safely like killing enemies, for example, when I am playing pro evolution soccer I enter the magic circle in which I can compete in the world cup and control the worlds top football players to win the cup but there is no material object I get for winning, this is what I have to accept to enjoy the game

Week 2

In The second week we looked at how some violently themed games have caused moral panic via the media. we looked at one case of murder which was said to be linked to the game said to be the most violent ever made, Manhunt, a game which i have previolulsy played in the past and found much to satistic for my liking. the game puts you into the a character who has been saved from death row but must carry out brutal killings inorder to stay alive. the main aim of the game is to sneak up on unsepecting victims and kill them with a range of wepons, the longer you sneak behind them and hold one of the buttons the more savage the killing is. i am not wholey against violent games but for me manhunt goes a bit to far. it is easy to see how it caused such a panic after a young bot killed his friend with a hammer which reflects one of the ways to kill people within the game. However when we looked into the news artical it is easy to see how the media can blow things out of proporstion. the murder did not own a copy of the game, the victim did which says alot about how the media put spins on storys. i belive that if you have a level head and dont allow yourself to be drawn in to much by a game like this then there is not a problem playing them, but not everyone has a level head in the world and it is easy to see how manhunt could infulence people because you can use everyday objects in the game such as plastic bags and screwdrivers to preform satistic killngs. In the lecture we also looked at the teachings of a man named Dr Spock who wrote a very important book on child care, in which he says of digital games that, although the can help with hand eye co ordination they can also promote violnece nd agression a thoey which was backed up by the daily mail around the time of the murder linked with manhunt. we also looked at rhetroic laungage first in the paper, were we saw how the writter used persuaive laungauge to convice readers about the story. we the also looke at it in cojuntion with digital games. i decided to rent out one of the other games metioned in the artical about evil games as i had already played manhunt. i got a game called Hitman Contacts in which you play a man who kills for a living. we were told how games reflect vaules and belifes. In hitman the objective is to kill the people you have been told to as secretly as possible, the emphasis is on quietness and not being seen, if you are seen you are in trouble. the game is telling us that it is ok to kill for a living and to sneak around killing people and stealing the outfits to get into buildings and so on. in manhunt the game is telling us that it ok to kill people in horrible ways with everyday items if you are being forced. playing hitman i found alot more enjoable than manhunt. Hitman is a violent game but i think that way that it justifies it is that the people you are sent to kill have background storys, like they are a rapist or pedofile and this is why you have been hired to kill them. i think that games cause more of a moral outrage when you are killing humans, in a game like doom 2 or halo you are killing aliens that do not exist which puts a fantasy kind of twist on the violence

week 1

For the first week of the module the games we were given to look at were doom 2, a shooting game, civilization 2 a turn based strategy game and a game called Samarost 2 an online adventure game. Also during the lecture we looked at a game called space war! which was one of the first and most basic digital games around. During the lecture we were given a theory by a man called Wittgenstein who proposed the digital games don’t all share the same features. whilst playing the games after the lecture i noticed this to be true. As i played doom 2 i began to think about what had been said in the lecture and believed it to be very true. the concept o f a game was described like a rope, there is no single tread that runs though it, it is made up of twisted fibers that come together as a hole. this is very true of digital games such as doom 2. All of the small aspects of the game such as the weapons, the enemies, the music all come together to create the scary atmosphere of the game. the are no genetic connotations for a shooting game, the is no rule to say what can and cant be done and this is what helps make games all so unique and individual and what helps to make the gaming market so profitable. if all shooting games carried a set of codes and were all the same there would not be so much interest and money spend on them. another theory put across by Wittgenstein is that games have family resemblances, again i agree with this. while playing doom 2 i thought to myself that all shooting games, however individual and different they maybe all carry some of the same traits. the are guns, the are enemies, there will be health to pick up when your hurt, and usually an overall goal to save someone or something. Civilization 2 is a complelty different game to doom 2, in doom 2 you control one person and fight, but in civilization 2 you have to establish your community and build an army to defeat your enemies which can often be more than one team at a time. as different these games are they still carry some family resemblances mainly violence which seems to be a strong genre in gaming, i noticed this when we looked at space war!. this was one of the first digital games invented and the designers made a game in which the object is shoot down your opponents spaceship. However not all games are violence based. the game samoroast 2 involves following the story of a small alien who has his dog kidnapped. you have to use the computer mouse to find point on the maps to click so the story can progress. i find this style of game very boring as you involvement as a player is very minimalistic, you simply have to drag the mouse across the screen and watch what happens. out of the four games i think that doom 2 is the most enjoyable as its fast paced and there a lot of action.