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Title: - Video Game Theory and Criticism  •  Size: 62871

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Friday 03-Mar
  • EA's "Black" opens like a film. So why doesn't it feel like one? (16)

  • Thursday 02-Mar
  • Considering Gravity (7)

  • Monday 13-Feb
  • The Medium Is Not The Message (21)

  • Thursday 19-Jan
  • All Your Readers Belong To Us (10)

  • Friday 13-Jan
  • Censorless Violence (12)

  • Tuesday 10-Jan
  • Disneyfied (Disney Fried?) (20)

  • Friday 30-Dec
  • The Escape from Xmas (14)
  • Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap (24)

  • Tuesday 15-Nov
  • Gerbils (19)

  • Thursday 13-Oct
  • Suddenly Serious about Games (12)

  •    The Movies Kick Games Hard Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Wednesday, August 30 2006 @ 05:19 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Pixar’s Cars movie isn’t great by any stretch. Still, there is one scene in the film, one moment, that I think pretty much puts a bullet into the brain of the current game business.

    I don’t think for a minute, ala Chris Crawford, that the game business is dead. But I’ll join the chorus of respectable people suggesting that it’s high time for the videogame business to set aside firecracker visuals and get back to making interesting games.

    Cars, if you haven’t seen it, is another fully digital feature film sporting cute and cuddly characters filled with whimsy and ready-made to be turned into toys and plush collectables. This time, the story follows an egotistical racecar as he learns to appreciate friendship and the qualities of the open road, blah blah blah.

    On the road from self-centered NASCAR speedster to more humble competitive racer, the car falls in love with a Porsche who teaches him the beauty of the wide open, rural, American West. The climax of this little automotive love affair culminates in a frisky drive through the back roads that winds up on top a cliff. Here both cars soak in a sublime vista of an endless desert flecked with glowing towers of stone and topped with mountains of cloud suspended in an endless blue sky. The dramatic point is, “Wow, isn’t that beautiful? Doesn’t the scope and beauty of nature humble you? Shouldn’t we kiss?”

    The scene itself was ripped from a million other movies, of course. Unremarkable. Hackneyed.

    It was also a watershed for the rendering of virtual environments.

    read more (850 words)


       The MMORPG motivation? Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Friday, March 03 2006 @ 09:18 PM UTC
    Contributed by: Americanidle

    Game TheoryThe MMORPG phenomenon has been the focus of much discussion and debate when discussing unhealthy trends in internet and gaming activity. Since World of Warcraft showed just how popular MMORPG’s could get, other game developer’s rushed to create their own persistent online worlds where gamers could log and begin a new adventure of discovery. The success of the Blizzard business model has been a watershed event for the MMORPG. Perceptually it has moved from a niche market to a mainstream game genre. The MMORPG has also taken the blunt of anti-video game organizations who state that these games are highly addictive and dangerous. Determining why people play and why they play so much should help to uncover the truth or falsity of such panic.

    Let us begin with a spectrum:

    read more (6942 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 05:49AM by Anonymous


       Gerbils Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Tuesday, November 15 2005 @ 04:51 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    I don’t know what it is with kids and gerbils. But I suspect it has something to do with videogames.

    If you’ve followed the various discussions on this site, you’ll know that I like to reconsider the question of “What is a game?” by comparing things that are obviously not games to the definition and seeing what shakes out.

    So, this time around, I’d like to ask the perfectly reasonable question:

    Are gerbils a kind of game?

    read more (515 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 07:16AM by Anonymous


       The Dieting Game Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Wednesday, July 13 2005 @ 09:52 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    If you read this site on a regular basis, you know that I think most definitions of games are either a bit crude or, more likely, just over-thought and over-wrought. So, I like to try and show examples to prove my point.

    The latest exhibit is this.

    Is dieting a game?

    It has rules and an objective. It’s naturally competitive; you spend a lot of time on a diet stacking yourself up against other people.

    To extend the example, look at Jesper Juul’s quite interesting definition of “game”:

    • Rules: Check. Calories, caloric intake, burn rate, etc.
    • Variable, quantifiable outcome: Check. Pick a weight and weigh yourself.
    • Value assigned to possible outcomes: Check. I will look sexy when I reach this weight.
    • Player effort: Check. Obviously.
    • Player attached to outcome: Check.
    • Negotiable consequences: Check. I get to eat a Big Mac for every 10 pounds I loose.
    Not to pick on this definition, but I just wanted to show how easy it is.

    So the question is: Does it matter that dieting is a game? Or do we need a definition that excludes dieting?

    Most Recent Post: 08/26 02:38AM by Anonymous


       Defining Games: Screensavers and Chess Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Thursday, June 09 2005 @ 06:01 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Like every other games researcher, I’ve had to come up with some useful definition, or at least a general notion, of what a game is. Unlike many others, I’ve dispensed with a lot of the obvious stuff to get to what I find to be most essential.

    In my definition, gone are victory conditions or even explicit goals. I’ve discarded conflict and competition and, perhaps most surprising, even interaction.

    I’ve boiled and sifted, reduced and sorted until I came up with a definition that I think works:

    Games are algorithmic entertainment.

    read more (676 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 04:47PM by Anonymous


       Just Two Genres Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Tuesday, January 04 2005 @ 06:42 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    “Finally, we have come to believe that the most significant challenge for cyberspace developers is to come to grips with the problems of world creation and management. While we have only made the first inroads onto these problems, a few things have become clear. The most important of these is that managing a cyberspace world is not like managing the world inside a single-user application or even a conventional online service. Instead, it is more like governing an actual nation. Cyberspace architects will benefit from study of the principles of sociology and economics as much as from the principles of computer science. We advocate an agoric, evolutionary approach to world building rather than a centralized, socialistic one.“

    --“The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat”, Chip Morningstar and F. Randall Farmer

    read more (262 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 06:28AM by Anonymous


       Toy Stories and Cut Scenes Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Friday, August 27 2004 @ 04:07 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    What is a videogame without interaction?

    I’d call it an “algorithmic artifact.”

    Bottling this concept of the interaction-less videogame in a new term helps me get to an answer for a question that been nagging for a while:

    What is the difference between a film produced on computer, such as Toy Story, and a videogame, which, of course, is produced on a computer?

    The answer probably seems obvious. But as is often the case, the obvious answer doesn’t quite answer the question.

    read more (708 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/17 02:23AM by Anonymous


       The Puzzle/Game Puzzle Game Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Monday, May 03 2004 @ 09:47 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Game TheoryPreviously, I asked, “What is the difference between a puzzle and game?”

    To better frame this question, and to get closer to the issues I want to resolve, I would like to propose the following puzzle, or maybe it is a game:

    Either define puzzle or game in such a way as the definition includes the other. Or, define both in such a way that they obviously exclude each other.

    This might seem horribly academic. But I think there are some good reasons to try to define these terms.

    read more (135 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 02:39AM by Anonymous


       A Puzzler Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Wednesday, April 28 2004 @ 04:43 AM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Here’s a simple question:

    Are puzzles games?

    They often get grouped together. And both seem to characterize some sense of play. But does a definition of "game" accommodate "puzzles"?

    If I look at some of the usual definitional criteria for a game (not my definition, however!) we end up with a game including some or all of the following components:

    • Rules
    • Victory condition
    • Element of chance of uncertainly of outcome
    • Challenge
    • Opposition

    So, let’s test these against a simple puzzle—say, solving an anagram.

    read more (379 words)

    Most Recent Post: 09/01 03:36AM by Anonymous


       Work or Play? Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Tuesday, January 06 2004 @ 08:08 AM UTC
    Contributed by: blink56

    Game TheoryThis will expand my thoughts on video game endings that can be found under critical elements.

    I just recently bought and beat Mario Kart: Double Dash and noticed something very peculiar in the ending. I won't spoil anything, but after receiveing the last reward in the game, it says, "here's for all the hard work you put into this game."

    Now, wait a second. I thought I was playing his game for fun. It's not supposed to be a tedious effort!

    read more (697 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 07:32PM by Anonymous


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