Reading Response 1

After reading Salen & Zimmerman’s taxonomy of game definitions. explain which definition(s) for game appeals to you most?

After reading Salen and Zimmerman’s taxonomy of game definitions, the definition that appealed to me the most was David Parlett’s, Johann Huizinga’s, and Chris Crawford’s.  On top of being true for all games that I am aware of, these individuals’ definitions appeal to me most because to me they are most descriptive of what a game is.
Individually speaking on the other hand there were particular parts of these peoples’ definitions that really illuminated my thoughts on gaming.  Parlett’s Definition for me, focused the vast realm of gaming down to two essential fields.  The field of means and the field of ends.  The means field consisting of rules, and restrictions and the ends field consisting goals that a psrticipant is trying to achieve.  Identifying these two vital components of a game, helped me understand this vast idea a bit more.
Huizinga’s Definition illuminated me to the experience component of a game in which “boundaries of time and space (Salen & Zimmerman, 75)” can be experienced totally differently while participating in the game.  This highlight that Huizinga reveals also helped me recall how when I played a game that I enjoyed, the physical world around me would disappear, and the time that I would read on clocks would seem to be inconsistent with the passage of time flow that I was experiencing.  When making games for the class, I would like to incorporate this idea of time and space experience.  I believe that if I succeed in warping peoples since of time and space, then I may have succeeded in making an effective game.  Whether or not a game is enjoyable, can be determined using Crawford’s definition.
Crawford’s definition really appealed to me because under the field of ‘means’ it mentioned important aspects of game play such as interaction, conflict, and safety.  When enjoying games of chess, needless to say interacting with the pieces was a necessity for game progression.  However what made the game enjoyable for me was the conflict.  I would always picture myself in the battlefield as a pon or a knight thinking that each move I take is in consideration of the kings safety as well as my opponent’s king’s demise.  However there would also result more complex inner conflicts such as sacrificing a fellow chess piece in order to gain such means.  But in the end, it is all fun and games because both participants are humans who are safe.  I believe that incorporating Crawford’s aspects of interaction, conflict, and safety properly will result in an enjoyable game.

How would you define a game in your own words?

Cognitively standing on the information I have just read, I would like to propose that a game is any entity with a systematized canon of rules by which a being or set of beings use and manipulate in order to achieve an end.  Furthermore, I would also like to argue that this desired end, exists in the realm of entertainment or challenge with an consenting participant.
So for instance, I believe that if a user is manipulating a canon of rules to achieve an end for any purpose beyond a challenge or source of entertainment, then that user’s activity is not involved in gaming.
Another non-example, if a person is manipulating the rules of taxation for entertainment or amusement to gain an end of illegally attaining money, I do not believe that persons activity can be identified as a game because the tax bureaucracy is not voluntarily participating against her.

What is your opinion of Costikyan’s definition of games, is it too broad , too narrow,which aspects of his definition do agree with and which do you disagree with? Are puzzles games? Is second life a game? What do you make of his ideas about narrative in games? And his notions of color and competition? What about his idea that games should be considered “art”?

In my opinion, Costikyan’s definition of games was very accurate (even though I still don’t feel qualified to say that given my inexperience with a diverse amount of games). Though his analysis of what constitutes as a game was very extensive, I think the length his writing was necessary and that he hit very vital good points doing so.
I agree with all of Costikyan’s argument except for one part. What I disagree with in Costikyan’s argument as well as in Salen & Zimmerman’s argument is that Second Life and Sims is not a game. Yes I do agree that within the realm of the program, there is no end or goal.  However, there does exist program rules and restrictions and challenges in both games by which the participant must abide by and work against.  Furthermore, I believe that Second Life and Sims can be a game due to the idea that a goal or an end can be user defined rather than program defined.  Yes, The Sims and Second life does not have a pre-programmed end, but who is to say that the user may not have a personal end in playing such programs.  Such an end can be involuntarily subconscious such as an escape from the problems of reality.  Such an end can also be a conscious goal such as to optimize away to meeting the most people online.
Having this said, I do agree with Salen, Zimmerman, and Costikyan in that puzzles are games.  I think the goal of puzzles inherently enforces the rules and restrictions.  For instance in an image puzzle, of one were to break the rule of putting the right piece in the right place, then the goal of assembling the image will not be gained.  Like Sims and Second Life, I also believe that puzzles can allow or lead users to create personal goals such as a way to enjoyably pass the time, a way to challenge ones intellectual capabilities, or a way to escape the burdens of reality.
On the topic of color and competition, I agree with Zimmerman.  I believe that if a game were void of color or a theme by which human beings could recognize or identify with, then the game would not be appealing, and no one would be interested in competing in or against it.
Lastly I do believe games should be considered art.   My personal definition of art is anything done or created deliberately to communicate, transmit, or challenge an idea.  In my opinion, games have to be created with deliberateness because if not, the rules might contradict each other, or there may be loop holes by which players can cheat.  Secondly I think that games are very capable of transmitting, communicating, or challenging ideas in some fashion.  My little brother for instance knows so much about battlefield tactics and gun taxonomy as a result of playing so many war games.  In this example, ideas of warfare were transmitted from the game to the participant in a sense.
This entry was posted in Reading Response 1. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.