Monday, October 31, 2011

What Games Are: Conclusion

This series has been very interesting for me and I hope for some of you. In this post I critically conclude it.

Summarizing games as a combination of a simulation background, goals and rules, of which the rules generate the journeys towards the goals, is pretty good in my opinion. It's not perfect and there are examples that don't fit well, but so far I like it.

Not so for the assertion that any problem a game can have is either because the journeys aren't worth the goals, or because it fails at keeping the mind busy (=boring), or because it is 'frustrating'. This doesn't work all that well, really. The big problem is that the definition of 'frustrating' is too vague. For example boring activities, or journeys that aren't worth their goals, are frustrating, too.

What I like a lot is the list of things that keep the mind busy and the assertion that a mind that is not kept busy experiences boredom; and vice versa. I would add at this point that boredom is a critical design flaw and much worse than most others. I'll go into that in more detail in the next post using WoW as an example.

1 comment:

  1. Games really are a puzzle to be solved. Take for example a single player RPG like Oblivion. There are three things to be solved. The main quest, total and complete exploration and finally the mechanics of the game to create the perfect avatar.

    Most players go just for the main quest and then quit. But there are still a large minority that want to experience all the game has to offer exploration wise and do all side quests, create multiple charaters and so forth. These players are also into mods for the game.

    Finally, there is the last group that does the above and still plays till they create the perfect character to play with.

    So I think games that people end up liking offer more than a single goal to the game. Now to tie that to recent changes to WOW I believe that many of the alternative goals are being taken away. We are left with end game raiding. Blizzard might be aware of this situation and this might be the reason behind their changes for MoP. Only time will tell.