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.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Calvin and I have named our game the lOneLy cIty. The name reflects the player interacts with the background, and how the location is presented in the game.
We are in the process of making a video game, which doesn't require much physical action. But there is lots of sitting, and clicking on the mouse. But there is a lot of problem solving, and game play that provokes natural interpretation and analytical thought, as well as, aesthetic and audible interpretation.
Some adjectives I would use to describe the game would be revealing, mysterious, involving, and essentially thought provoking. However, at the moment the game might also be sketchy, and/or frustrating.
The genre, and program we used is for old school, classic 2-D games. the program was easily available, and fairly easy to understand.
Our game would be categorized under computer gaming. I wanted to explore this genre formally, and try to ingrate my own aesthetic practices into a digital role playing, semi-narrative, game. I am also very interested in learning computer gaming programs, in order to explore the possibilities of game as Art.
Only one person can play at a time. But everyone can play it.
It is for this reason we do not want the game to be site-specific, and maybe have it available to anyone on the internet.
We have tried to separate our game from the rest of computer games by really approaching it as an art project. We have created the narrative, and meaningful play of the game to create a substantial dialogue between the player, and programer.
The core mechanic of the game is visual problem solving. The game has many underlying themes which all revolve around questions of self, and self discovery. The two are inseparable and developed together.
Hopefully the player will experience first a meaningful engagement with the decision making, which will hopefully create a lasting impression on the player, who can then draw parallels of the game into their own lives.
We were constricted by the rules of the program, but there are some nice end scenarios which result from how each individual interprets the game, and its these elements I find most gratifying.
The hardest elements to figure out where are how the objects, and characters in the game affect the players progress, as well as how to visually integrate these object into background, a troubling problem I have yet to overcome.
The most obvious thing I learned from the first beta testing, including my own beta testing, is that the size of the character really affects the gaming experience But that maybe we could work the programs faults to create a unique cognitive experience while playing.
I am very hopeful that the game will turn out on point. But its just so much work that, and sometime I question putting in all this effort, to something i can't ultimately control.
Something I might do differently next time would create the models for the backgrounds. I could do this with drawings, or even miniatures. yeah i think that would be awesome.
At the moment I definitely don't think that the world needs more computer games, but I am attempting to confront what this global trend, and perhaps influence a genre that has been dominated by Kitsch.
I believed a well designed game creates extremely meaningful play, which is intertwined with elements of competition, perfection, or even more importantly social interactions, or dialogues produced by the game.
I think meaningful play has helped me develop the game the most. By reading many definitions of what a game is 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 such a crucial in society (especially video games.), and what the long term affects that are being caused by such a new powerful trend in American culture.
I found working in a game genre as rewarding, but at the same time extremely frustrating. parts of the developmental process feels like manual labour, although with out the benefit of physical excursion. But if I end up producing a quality product, it will be all good. And the fact is that with my medium of choice (painting) I am constantly frustrated in myself, so perhaps it's all relative.
The world should know that gaming programs are essentially a tools, which can they be used for Art, Kitsch or varying degrees of perversion.
(I will answer the reading question whn i have the reader with me)