Friday, October 29, 2010

Tetris in Class Assessment


Student Name__Lily Hardy

Today’s Date___10/29/10

Game Title Examined___Tetris

Year of Publication_____1989

Game Publisher_______Various

Game Developer ______Alexey Pajitnov

Game Genre (e.g. shoot-em-up, racing, sports, puzzle, MMORPG, ‘sandbox’, music sequence following game (e.g. DDR, guitar hero)

-Tetris is a Puzzle game.

Type of game ‘world’ or environment (e.g. flat environment, puzzle/maze space, 3D world?)

-2D flat puzzle screen. 

Perspective taken by player (e.g first person, third person perspective, top down, isometric) in relation to main player controlled character.

 -The player views the puzzle pieces and screen from above. The camera mode it fixed and doesn't move.

Gameplay – what does the player have to do?

 -Player must guide blocks and shapes into orderly lines. Once a whole line is completed the blocks disappear and the player scores points.

Is the gameplay intuitive? (i.e. is it easy to understand what to do without instructions?) describe.

- I think through trial and error you would easily understand what the game was about. It is a simple game. When the blocks pile up too high the game is over. When you put the blocks into correct places they flash and disappear.

Is the gameplay patterned (game does the same thing over & over) or is it random (happens differently every time?)

 -The gameplay is random each time when it comes to the pieces chosen to fall. But the idea is the same every time. Pieces fall at the same rate.

What does the type of graphic approach used as well as the audio tell you about the limits of the technology at the time the game was published?

-The game is made of simple blocks and that is why it was a huge success on an  8 bit GameBoy screen because it was so simple and didn't require great graphics.

Describe your views about the game from the point of view of

  1. ease of play

-The game is difficult for me to score high on but easy to keep going for long periods of time and "feel" successful. So I would say most people would consider it a very easy game. There are no obvious levels to beat it just continues on so people would consider it easy.

  1. enjoyability

 - I think the fast pace and continued gameplay makes it very enjoyable. Even if you lose you can jump right back into the game so you never feel like losing is that big of a deal. It is simple and people like simple.

      c) level of engagement/immersion

- It is an incredibly easy  game to zone out and lose yourself in. Very engaging.

Had you played this game prior to this time?  If so, when?

 -Yes, it is a close friend of mines favorite and he is amazing at it. I actually didn't enjoy it when I first played because he was so ridiculously good at it I didn't stand a chance. (We played a versus mode)

Describe other games it reminds you of. How does it do this?

- It reminds me of the simplicity and addictiveness of Pong. Both have a "no pressure" yet competitive feel. You want to keep the game going and it is played very casually by most people.


I think that when people talk about the Tetris effect they are referring to the feeling of zoning out. When I play I feel like half of my brain shuts down and only the input from the screen is what my brain is focusing on. It's almost like your mind realizes that it doesnt need to be aware of anything accept what is right in front of it. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Donkey Kong In Class Game Play

This screen shot was taken right before I got to 2300 points which was my high score but I got game over and couldn't catch the shot soon enough.
The gameplay is repetitive and patterned. Your motions and directions you travel in game will change the outcome(the direction of the flames and barrels) but can be replicated each time with similar movements.
It is incredibly addictive to me. A player can use memorization to defeat levels. I got to the forth level but could beat it.
I think that it does take hand-eye coordination to be good at this game. Being aware of when to time jumps and at what height, can take practiced skill.

Donkey Kong Questions & Answers

1. Core gammers often look to video game accomplishments to feel successful, important, and sometimes, self-righteous. Core gamers love to compare and compete. These are ideas that have always been at the center of video game values. Core gamers can consider tournaments as serious as world recognized championship sport events. They hold it in high respect. Too some this "culture" is a necessary and very real part of video games.
This is all important to take into consideration when marketing to core gamers. Xbox did a great job, for example, by creating a gamer score that players could compare. Each game you play and the score you have achieved is available for friends and competitors to see, and the player themselves can look at that score when ever they turn on their xbox and feel a sense of confidence, or a need to play more.

2.I think Wiebe is an example of a typical core gamer that sticks with it and will not quit for his own self satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. To him he needed to win to feel confident in his own self-worth.
People with low self esteem can obsess and search for self-worth through high scores. It creates the other side of core gaming competitiveness. 

3. I think it should be valid to send in a tape to show your skill and to challenge a hight score. But in person high scores are the only REAL way to validate a champion. Technology has advanced to a point that tapes cannot be trusted.

4.I thought it was an incredibly entertaining movie. It was a great depiction of the extreme gamer attitudes. I think we have all know a "Wiebe" or a "Mitchell" or played against them at some point in a competitive way. It was fun to experience their journey and the culture behind the vintage game community. Yes I think this was an accurate portrayal of what makes video games playable. A simple and well designed game will be memorable throughout the years and always retain a loyal fan base the way Donkey Kong has.

5.Twin Galaxies is a self established holder of vintage game high scores. They make scores available to the public. They set and establishes rules and decide champions. Walter Day does it for the passion and held championship competitions acknowledged by Guinness world records.

6. I think that Wiebe's ability to compete with a skilled player like Mitchell could definitely be related to the skills he obtained through learning to pitch for baseball and using his hands to play piano or coordination through drums. As you play games or participate in any activity your brain burns pathways of memory into you mind. Some skills you learn can be applied to other areas. Such as timing a jump in DK and timing the tap of a snare drum. Precision can be learned.
I played video games from a very young age and later found a do pick up on tasks involving finger precision quickly like tying knots and braiding to create bracelets(a hobby I was into for a while)

7. Gordon called Mitchell a "puppet master" and this is an accurate statement in my opinion. Mitchell stays on top even when he isn't on top by creating the illusion he is and always will be the best. He didn't acknowledge Wiebe because if he treated him as an insignificant player Wiebe would maybe believe that. You could see in the movie how everyone involved with Twin Galaxies seemed to gravitate to Mitchells simply because he demanded in with his attitude. He was so convinced of his own greatness no one would think to question it.
In broad terms I don't think this behavior is embraced within most gaming communities but within certain subcultures(especially competitive gaming) this behavior is accepted because "they are the best".

8.I think it was an excellent example of the nature. To become so engrossed in a process and culture is so human. To let the fear of losing consume yourself. You could also say it was very political or showed examples of corrupt politics. An example: when the refs declined Wiebe's score on tape but accepted Mitchell's score on tape because he was a long time favorite and had such heavy influence. It was ver interesting to see how in this situation video game obsession can make or break a person. You can see it plainly in the  two polor opposite attitudes shown in this film: Wiebe and Mitchell. These men really believed that it was more than winning a game, that these scores are interrelated to their own self merit.

9. The first time I played this version of DK I was playing Donkey Kong 64 and I unlocked the old version as a mini-game option. I loved it the first time I played and saw it as the hardest mini-game a video game had ever offered me. I did some research and found out it was the 1st DK game ever (I had thought that DK for the Super Nintendo was the first). I loved that Mario was in it but that DK was the main character that drew you in. Often Mario is seen as Nintendo's iconic character and DK is not as recognized as I think it should be. It was fun to learn that they had been introduced together.

Friday, October 15, 2010

In class Doom assesment


Enhanced Weenies and encountering player movement: Throughout the first level of Doom, I assumed the control room you find and the acid pools you run into could be considered weenies. They catch your eye and make the player want to explore them or find a way across. This creates the movements towards level profession or the direction a designer thinks a player should explore.

Using lighting to encourage player movement: The game is somewhat dark but doorways are a bit lighter than the walls and the items that a player needs to collect for ammunition and power up are lit fairly well to draw your attention.

Alternative Maps: One a level is complete a large map pops up int eh background of your level scores. On it are the buildings you will need to explore or defeat to move on. The areas that have been defeated have a nice blood splatter on them.

Presented Path vs. Exploration: This game presents a few designated paths such as the stairs ascending to the next area or a doorway, or a safe path through the green acid pools. Otherwise the player is given the freedom to explore on their own, discover items and feel accomplished when they climb a set of stairs or travel up an elevator to find body armor or a shotgun.

Thematic Level Goals: The goal of this game is to kill the mutants and zombies in a group of overrun buildings. You must take them out to recover the areas.

Level Items: Items include body armor, first aid kits, various weapons, and ammo.

Warning/Foreshadowing: When the level begins there are already bloody bodies scattered through the level, lights flicker, and the place looks dark and threatening. All these add to the foreshadowing of the dangers that await the player later in the level.

Storytelling through Environment: The place you enter is high tech looking and full of death, mutants, and malfunctioning electronics. It is immediately obvious to the player that this is a scientific project gone wrong or interfered with. The levels do a good job of projecting the ideas intended. 

Implied Threats: The acid pools make the player nervous as they travel over ridges and pathways. It makes the player aware of their moments.

The Tutorial Section: This version did not have a  tutorial section. While the game waits fro you to begin the game it plays a simulation of the game to show you what you will be playing.

Building Anticipation: The sounds of the monsters and music gets you pumped and excited about the fights to come.

Juxtaposing Interior and Exterior Space: Doom does a good job of balancing space as you explore both narrow hallways leading to larger underground labs. Some levels also have portions of the game where the player may explore and hunt monsters outside as well. 

The Clear Path Out: Once the level is over you are led to the end area with a surplus of first aid kits and ammo for the next level. It creates a safe feeling and indicates you are safe and the danger is over for the time being.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (PSP)

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (PSP) 
What the heck are Weenies? 
Enhanced Weenies and encountering player movement - Player movement is straight-forward; use the joystick to move around and press X to attack. 
Using lighting to encourage player movement - Use of lighting wasn't very apparent, but items and important pickups were very saturated in color. 
Posters - None 
Alternative Maps & Posters - The red marks on the map show paths to different parts of the environment, enticing the player to go to each mark to explore other branches of the level. 
Presented Path & Posters - Game levels were presented in small sections and forward progress is not obvious 
Presented Path vs. Exploration - The player is entitled to explore, though the path is still linear. 
The Power of the Path - the illusion of Freedom 
Rediscovering Rewards - Enemies will always respawn even when player explored the level, leaving pickups and rare items. 
Thematic Level Goals - Kill everything bad 
Moral Story Telling - Not apparent 
Lesson of Main Street - Lights and bright or saturated items are implemented in the game. The treasures are easy to find due to their bright colors, for example. 
Level Items - Level did not have much detail - only grassy hills and waterfalls. The varying dimensions and paths add variety to the level. Pickups are mainly attained from killing enemies. Small treasures are found when the player explore different parts of the level. 
Thematic Level Goals - Each level has its own objectives and goals for the player to pursue. 
Illusional Narrative - Entering a designated area can trigger a cinematic that shows progression or another objective the player must face in the game. 
Adding Danger - inaccessible Pirate ship that looked benevolent from afar shooting cannonballs at the player 
Applying it All 
Warning/Foreshadowing - The player knows she has to defeat the boss (Captain Hook) and overcome the pirate ship. 
Maximizing the Path - If player goes off the path, different enemies and rewards are available 
Storytelling through Environment - Themed environments, depending on the world the player was in (Neverland fantasy world) 
Implied Threats - Pirate ship, world was devoid of interactive characters and elements (aside from enemies) 
The Tutorial Section - N/A, though testing the buttons oriented the player who is unfamiliar with button configurations. System of battle is straight-forward and navigation was understood through trial and error. 
Map and Discovered Information - Map presented in sections; player is easily disoriented. 
Building Anticipation - The sound of the cannonball being fired makes the player run or dodge from his current position so as not to get hit. 
Weenies and Foreshadowing 
Juxtaposing Interior and Exterior Space - Not available due to the section of the level. Setting was exterior, but gives the player room to explore due to branching paths. 
Illusional Narrative 
The Clear Path Out - The player battles the world boss and is welcome to return to the world whenever she pleases. Though the player is not obligated to stay in the world until the boss is defeated, it is desirable in order to progress in the game. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Scott Roberts in class exercise

What the heck are Weenies? These are large and interesting landmarks that are used to draw players into and the designer wants them to explore. 

Enhanced Weenies and encountering player movement- The game Far Cry 2 doesn't seem to have any obvious weenies. While playing we encounters a large bridge that told us we were not eh right path because it broke up the monotony of the plan dirt paths. This was the closest we could find. There was also a striking lake we could view but it was not any sort of indicator of movement.  

Presented Path & Posters- Dirt roads were put in place to guide players towards objectives and road signs indicated the direction the player should go to encounter story progression. 

Presented Path vs. Exploration- There were obvious paths for the player to follow but also the jungle invites players to explore wild vegetation. 

The Power of the Path - the illusion of Freedom- Smaller side paths and roads are found off the main road so that player may feel accomplished at finding a shortcut. 

Moral Story Telling - You are a person sent in to help stop a violent war. You are trying to end the corruption within the country. Morals are brought in, in obvious ways, throughout the story. 

Level Items- Ammunition and weapons are littered throughout the game in small shacks.

Warning/Foreshadowing- The player is infected with malaria and his symptoms will begin to surface for a moment once points of the game are reached. The malaria indicates to the player that he is furthering the story line or reaching an objective.

Storytelling through Environment- The environment obviously tells the player the story of a war torn country and the hardships the people have undergone. This is clearly presented to the player.

Implied Threats- The player will encounter abandon huts throughout the level. These huts contain indicators of danger. Walls with bullet holes and abandoned ammunition. 

The Tutorial Section- A phone calls you occasionally to tell the player about new objectives.

Map and Discovered Information- The map will show areas that are locked not the map and have not been discover by the player. Also the unlocked and discovered areas will be presented in detail.

Building Anticipation- The music become dramatic as you near a dangerous zone and the shadows create a dangerous feeling environment. 

Juxtaposing Interior and Exterior Space- The game consists of wide open jungle and small enclosed huts/buildings. It plays in-between the very free feeling open environments and impoverished claustrophobic ones.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dragon Crystal Pinball

Dragon Crystal Pinball

What were the kinetics, style, feel, and design?

The game was defiantly fast-paced. It didn't have any "objects" or "toys" to interact with on the play-field except for a few wire ramps. The game design was simple. It included flippers, bumpers and a few roll over targets to hit that would light up when touched. One set of roll over targets were the letters in the word "GATE" . Once these were hit a "gate" came down and you were then allowed to reach the saucer behind it that would stick the ball and shoot it back out again.
The ball could be sucked in by a few other holes and saucers that would reward you with a free ball or more points. The game started and ended quickly.
There was also a hole that once entered by the ball, took you to a small mini game screen. The screen had a set of flippers at the bottom and bricks above that when hit disappeared. The goal was to eliminate as many bricks as possible before the ball fell through the side gutters or down the middle between the flippers. Then you were returned tot eh main pinball screen. I liked that since it was a "video game" and not a real pinball machine they found an cool way to bring in other twists to make it unique just because they could.

The game was dragon themed and that is why I chose it. It wasn't the most enjoyable of the pinball games I played but one of the only ones without advertising!

Orange- roll over targets
Red- holes and saucers
Yellow- slingshots
Blue- wire ramps
Pink- flippers
Green- bumpers