Qiqi Zuo


  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).


It’s hard to say a game is really balanced, I would say that boxing /fighting game seems more balance than other types of game. The king of Fighters, since this game is a boxing fighting game and has often 1 VS 1 or 2 VS 2. And all the players share the same time have the same health point. Additionally, since the goal of the game is to defeat the opponents, so players share the same goal.


1b): Describe a game that you believe is un-balanced.

I would say car racing game is un-balanced. I’ve never played a car racing game that the player shares the same start line with other computer controlled AIs. From this point the game is obviously un-balanced, but here the asymmetrical racing game provides players face more challenges if they want to achieve the first place.


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?


The asymmetrical games seem more playful than balanced game since it makes the participants make more meaningful choices. For instance the unique abilities brought different races show a great potential for the game play diversity since the asymmetrical games encourage players to make decisions more carefully and have more freedom to make choices. A wise game designer often makes the game not that formalized and provides players enough space for their own interests, therefore the game become more attractive and re-playable. And even the characters of the game share the same story line, the player could still experience the game differently if he choose a new race and try different method of playing the same game. Also, asymmetry helps enrich the content of the game since it provides the player more ways to analyze the narrative from different perspectives.


  1. 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.

Agon: Some sports games like FIFA. This type of game has strict winning conditions and a clear gaming system.

Alea: Blackjack, a lot of gambling games that depend on fortune should be clarified into this category.

Mimicry: Heavy Rain; Grand Theft Auto. As the game plays aim at reproducing a real world situation and makes the players believe that they are the ones other than themselves who dramatically being removed from ordinary life.

Also, some sports games also mimic real sports playgrounds and help extend the players’ sensations into the artificial world.

Ilinx: Gravity Rash, a great game which brings the players a incredible great sensation of having a control over gravity. Although some players would complain this game play associates with too much physical sensation of vertigo, but from my perspective I think this game really bring me a shock that how much weightlessness could be brought by a game.

Paida: Grand Theft Auto again. Final Fantasy VII. Minecraft. Until Dawn. Almost of the sandbox type games.

Ludus: I would say Pokemon is a game combining both Paida and Ludus. For the battle part, every turn and action are strictly bounded with rules, regulated and formulized. But for the travel and explore part, it turns out so “Paida” which allows the players to play in variable ways.



  1. 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.


Flow is a kind of optimal psychological focus statement and engaged happiness which brought by achieving some goals. When we say we a in a flow when we play a good game, means that we are likely fully engaged into the game even forget about ourselves. There are several points which being inspired by “flow.”

To make the players achieve “flow” statement, a good game designer should create appropriate and balanced tasks, which means the pace of the task can’t be too long and the content of the game can’t be too boring, at least bring some enjoyments. Meanwhile, the difficulty of the task shouldn’t being too hard or too simple, otherwise the players may not focus on achieving artificial goals. The task setting should be rewarding but challenging in a balanced way in order to attract players to spontaneously put in more time and losing the track of time. In this sense, the feedback from the game should be positive rather than negative.

The goal should be clarified and avoid providing irrelative information to confuse our players. The clearer the players’ goals are, more motivate the players would be.

It is an engage way to make the participants has a certain degree of control over the game in order to provide them with some uncertainties. If everything is doubtful, therefore the game is pointless and boring.