‘Save the World’ Game Outline

The entire idea of my game is for people to get really involved in their books. So, my game basically puts them into the books by re-creating scenes for points. This can be accomplished by video or photo, depending on the scene and the points. All players really need is a set list of the tasks they can accomplish in order to play. From there, they can choose which ones to do according to point value and time. The usual time slot would be a week to do a long set of tasks, but below I’ve sketched out a simple 5 minute version that one could play to get a sampling of the game.

Game time: 5 minutes

Task #1: Re-create this scene from Watchmen by photo.

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Total points: 5

Task #2: Re-create this scene from the book Fight Club. You may use photo or video, depending on the amount of points you’d like.

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Total points: for a photo, 10 for video

 

 

 

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#Gamergate

Gamergate is really confusing. It seems like a group of incredibly passionate people that got together and couldn’t decide on what to get mad about. And I suppose that’s where they struggle with many people, but that makes it difficult to explain to a person on the outside. It also makes anyone talking about it on the internet question whether or not they want to say something.

Gamergate is something that began as one thing, and morphed into another. It seemingly began as a hate campaign against a woman in the independent gaming industry. Then, after it gained considerable (and frightening) speed, it aimed it’s high-powered weaponry at gaming journalism. And there it has sat for around 5 months now.

That’s probably the most basic of explanations, but it gets the nucleus of the matter. There are obviously about 100 follow-up questions to it, but others have already explained it so eloquently that I’d probably just point my friend in their direction. Hopefully they would get their questions answered because I’m still fuzzy on a lot of it.

The actual gamergate community seems like a bunch of people who take themselves to be like this guy. Passionate and misunderstood. But a lot like the gentleman in the video, they’re hearkening back to the halcyon days that just aren’t here anymore. We grow up and so did the gaming industry. I’m sorry fellas, but those days of clandestine games of Pitfall! in your friend’s basement are gone. Gaming gas gone global, and in almost every sense of the word.

While I do think those protecting the legacy of gaming are a bit off the mark, I understand the want of journalism ethics in gaming. The problem is that the seed of that whole problem came out of such a blackened place. Maybe if the issue came up a year from now I’d be more on board, but I can’t see myself being a passenger when the others are still riding along.

Make the World Better Game

My idea for a game would be something like a book come to life. The main idea being that real-world players have to re-create the situations in famous books to earn points. The game would take place over a set amount of weeks, and players can work alone or in teams to complete the scenes of the library’s choosing.

The main idea behind the game is to get people more interested in books. So, each library would have a sign-up sheet in house that players would come and sign up for. The library would release the books being used in the game for a given week online or something, and then the players sign up for that books’ tasks by checking it out.

Certain things in the game are worth more than others. For instance, recreating a simple solo scene in Tom Sawyer would be worth less points than recording a video of yourself repainting a fence. Some tasks would require video and some would be photo. So you could do the game through Tumblr or Facebook for the photos and Facebook and YouTube for the videos.

As a player, the list of books and tasks would be released on Sunday night by the library association. The list would look something like this:

Task A: single-player, page 186, recreate the scene in paragraph 3 using photo or video – 25 points

Task B: 3 or more players, page 27, recreate the scene in paragraph 1 using video to capture it all – 75 points each

So, players can combine in a team category or play solo throughout the contest. If they play on a team, they may still do solo tasks and add the points to their team total. But, they must choose one or the other. The beauty of this is not only will the kids be checking out and looking at books, but also collaborating and sharing with others (if they so choose). You run this style of game for 4 or 6 weeks, and declare a winner at the end.

Ghosts of a Chance

Ghosts of a Chance seems like a very interesting method to get people interested in museums. I’m not sure that the Smithsonian really needs more foot-traffic and interest, but what they seem to really want is the interest of young people. I suppose that’s not unlike most museums around the country. The advantage the Smithsonian has is that it can do everything bigger than the rest.

The small ripple I think this game has over World Without Oil is that, not only are these people puzzle solving, but they’re also creating art to send into the museum itself. World Without Oil did encourage art-making with all of the writing, but here you are sending your project directly to the museum. That’s a really cool difference and would definitely encourage me to join if I had any artistic ability.

This game also seems to rely much more on actual puzzle solving. What a fun addition. Especially when you get multiple people on a forum involved, dissecting every little detail of their clue to make sense of it all. People love that kind of stuff. Puzzle solving in a collaborative way is a great selling point for your game and museum.

World Without Oil

The World Without Oil game is an interesting look into what can be made out of the concept of a “game.” And while it doesn’t adhere to the traditional idea of a “game” at all, it still is one in its structure. I’d probably describe it more as a collaborative narrative or something along those lines, but I can see why they want to call and sell it as a game. Simply because, to me, a game is something that people are more likely to participate in.

And that’s part of the reason why it works so well as an experience and learning situation. Because something called a game sounds much more attractive to participate in than a social experiment. Plus, people like using their imaginations to make up narratives. I didn’t participate in this thing, but the idea that I get to write up a complete fictional story sounds crazy fun. Throw in thousand of others that I can bounce ideas off of and combine story-lines with? Sign me up.

It seems like the kind of idea that has been around for a while now (Mad Max came to my mind), but it’s still something that is socially relevant and also fun to join in on. I wouldn’t be too shocked if this exact game made another appearance on the tech radar within a couple of years. Just off of sheer numbers alone, it would make sense that they would try and resurrect it. Maybe the next time they’ll take away another huge resource or something.

Video Games Go to Washington

I think the idea of a game for a presidential candidate is awesome. It’s a great way to try to engage an entire new generation of potential voters. And with the massive expansion of the smartphone market in the past 10 or so years, it makes the accessibility of these games even more intriguing. The real question is, should candidates be spending real time and resources on getting a game into their campaign?

My simple answer would be no. My expanded answer would be that, with the difficulty to crack the ever-saturated game market and the potential to make games based nothing on the candidates themselves, it is far too high a risk to have these games come with each ballot in November. But, then again, politics essentially is just a game of persuasion and dismissing platform at this point anyway.

Cracking the smartphone or flashgame market now is near impossible. It’s like every game is a small rowboat in the Pacific Ocean. And each little rowboat is different from the others. Now, a lot of those rowboats will crash and sink, but some with specific differences from the others will make it. To make a successful campaign game, you not only have to crack the next-to-impossible odds of making a great game, but you also have to somehow make that game political. How many political video games can you think of that have been successful on any level? Because I can’t think of one.

Second, I aggressively disagree with manipulating (assumingly) young voters with a video game for a candidate. The Dean game seemed to work on strictly using mini-games to build the strongest voter, which seems incredibly off-putting to me. So, the goal isn’t the get the platform of the person you’re potentially voting for out there, it’s to tell the actual voter that the only thing that matters is how strong a voter he or she is? Knowing the stances of the candidate they’re voting on isn’t so important, though? Or, topically, their stance on the war? Just seems the crosshairs are on the wrong target, here.

I love video games and would love their involvement in my life dang near as much as possible. Unfortunately for the next Howard Dean, one of those things isn’t in politics. It could be my constant cynicism when it comes to politics or my unwavering dismissal of anything that comes out of one of their suit-clad mouths, but it definitely is something. Keep the games about sports and first person shooting. Although, the clashing of the two cultures could lead to our first candidate sponsored first-person shooter, which would be an adventure unto itself.

From Work To Play

Mouthrop’s academic write up on the relationship between working and playing was something I actually struggled a bit to get through. Could have been my mood or just the timing, but for some reason I found the writing quite a tedious read. It was just something that caught me off guard since the website itself seemed like a blog at first. So, while not the most important thought, it did undoubtedly play into my opinion of this reading.

One expert cited in the article is Janet Murray. I tend to disagree with some of the thoughts she has on the video game industry. She says that “those engaged with electronic texts sometimes fail to read for the plot…” I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. If for nothing else, than for the fact that she really isn’t citing any specifics.

What kind of games are these people playing? Madden? There is no real narrative there. A huge percentage of the games on the market today don’t feature a narrative, but that doesn’t mean those players aren’t engaged with the game. It just means they’re engaged with what’s in front of them.

Even a game like Grand Theft Auto, that I see cited as a game nobody cares about the narrative in, it really depends on the source of gameplay. Online, the narrative really isn’t the appeal. You want to run around with 10 friends and rob 8 banks in the lowest time possible. That’s the narrative.

I get what she’s trying to get at. But, really, games have come a long way in terms of story structure and engagement. You used to just side-scroll into a castle and chase the princess for decades. Now, we have cinematic-quality games like Heavy Rain and the Uncharted series that are akin to playing a movie. So, while I see where she’s coming from, I just don’t buy her narrative.