Reading Notes #3
Week 4: Thursday 10/25

Salen & Zimmerman, “Rules of Play”: Chapters 20, 22, 23, 24


  1. Creating a perfectly level playing field is a complicated challenge. 1a): Describe a game that you believe is perfectly balanced (provides a perfectly level playing field). 1b): Describe a game that you believe is un-balanced. 1c): What are your thoughts about asymmetrical games such as Starcraft, Axis and Allies, Soul Caliber, Tekken, or World of Warcraft, which create inherently uneven playing fields but in turn provide diverse play experiences and strategies for the opposing sides?
  2. Roger Caillios’ system for game categories includes the following terms: Agon, Alea, Mimicry, Ilinx, Paida, and Ludus. Choose 5 games that are not mentioned in the reading and and categorize them according to Callios’ terms (see ROP pg 306 for an example of the table). You may want to create hybrid categories as some games involve multiple types of game play experiences.
  3. In trying to quantify elusive and subjective terms like “fun” the authors reference several “typologies of pleasure”, one particularly compelling model is Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow. Briefly describe the general theory behind flow and how it may be useful for designing and evaluating games.

Student Responses