Friday, December 17, 2004

Final Game Statement

Computerized gaming has emerged into a global phenomenon, and I am drawn to it for many different reasons. While my favorite memories of games, have all been social interaction, or team based games, I find myself playing computerized games on a normal basis. I am also very interested in this social scene that is developing as a result of this kind of mechanical play. I chose to develop a computerized game in order to better understand my, and the millions of other peoples fascination, and relationships with essentially hardware, and programs.
I think meaningful play has helped my development of the game the most. By reading many definitions of what actual "game" entails really enhanced my perspective of why I am drawn to specific games. However, I don't feel that any of the readings addressed why games play has become such a imbedded part of society (especially video games.), and what the long term affects of this powerful new trend in American culture is going to be.
I feel that when the majority of the class came to my house and played the game, meaningful play of sorts was achieved. To reiterate my definition of meaningful play, it would be any kind of play, within a gaming genre, that produces, competition, perfection, social interaction, or a dialogue of some kind with either the other players, or players within the gaming structure. However, they were not all the reactions I was expecting.
"Lonely City," was designed to be a visual art project that produced a dialogue with the player and the game itself, to achieve meaningful play. We attempted to formulate this relationship by incorporating visually stimulating aesthetics, with problem-solving, meaningful decision making, and very developed player interactions. And while I don't feel that the game in its present state truly utilizes these aspects, we have definitely developed the foundation for the more in-depth elements to rest upon.
We have purposely removed elements of competitiveness, or time based strategy in order to allow the core mechanic of the game to be visual problem solving. We wanted to achieve an enjoyable game that is responsive to the player's actions, but has continued themes to encourage a dialogue with the player. The many game themes all revolve around questions of self, and self-discovery, as well as how that reflects the surroundings of the character.
While the class played our game I began to observe meaningful, and emergent play develop in conjunction with each other. I think that by having a group of people watching a single person playing the game, encouraged competitiveness. My favorite example was when Ghihad first started playing, and was essentially dissed off the computer, when failing to achieve a certain level of competency. The spectators who were offering encouragement, and criticism to the player encouraged me that the game was creating personal cognitive responses.
It is true that within the production of "The Lonely City," the main problem was the development of the game. But I feel that the game was designed so that it could serve as a platform for player engagement. There were some technical difficulties that prevented these ambitions to be fulfilled on Wednesday, but I am confident that they will soon emerge. While the development of a game was incredibly frustrating it was at the same time illuminating. And I feel that the decision making involved in the production of the game were greatly informed, and influenced by a new way of understanding game, and play. On a personal level I have found a new appreciation for all gaming genres, and however frustrating the production of the game was, I am deeply encouraged to continue exploration in this genre.


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