Salen K. and Zimmerman E. (2004, p336) said “Flow is, more than anything else, an emotional and psychological state of focused and engaged happiness, when a person feels a sense of achievement and accomplishment, and a greater sense of self”. It is the best experience to enjoy the games with the fervor. Maybe it is the exiting period for fulfillment. Flow is one part of games.
There are eight components of flow - four prerequisites and four effects. It affects us emotionally and physically. The first prerequisite is challenging activity. It means that we need to be active for every thing. The second prerequisite is clear goals. We have to know what we want to get. The third prerequisite is clear feedback. We can find the positive aspects and negative aspects from it, and get more experience. The fourth prerequisite is control in an uncertain situation. We can not avoid the accidents and failures.
The other four are the effects of flow. The first effect is merging of action and awareness. It means we can be absorbed voluntarily. The second effect is concentration. It is said that we can focus on one thing without any other hinders. The third effect is loss of self-consciousness. It means we can be oblivious of ourselves and can not feel ourselves clearly like be melted. The fourth effect is transformation of time. It is said that we need to control the time convertibly for us.
Csikszentmihalyi tried to examine the challenge and skill level before: if the game is too difficult, it should be anxiety; if the game is too easy, it should be boredom. Salen K. and Zimmerman E. (2004, p353) suggested that “Boredom and anxiety, as game design watch words, are wonderful because they speak directly to play experience.”
Game: Food Force
It is exciting to play Food Force intently. We need to take the whirlybird to find the people who are lying on the floor and save them in a short time. If we do not pay enough attention on it, we will get less people rescued. It makes me to be very fast and try my best to control the whirlybird.
1. Salen, Katie and Zimmerman, Eric (2004). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, Cambridge, Ma: MIT
We usually say the phrase - “play games”. However, did we consider the relationship between “play” and “games”?
The “magic circle” describes “play” and “games” with the affiliation clearly. On one hand, play includes games. We have many games to play, like Manhunt, football matches, and so on. However, not everything we can play is the “game”. It is said that “play” is broader than “games” here. On the other hand, games have many characteristics like rules, skills, competitions, goals, et al..”‘Play” is only a component of “Games”, and “games” is boarder than “play” here. In conclusion, it is difficult to define which belongs to which - “play” and “games” have the different affiliations which depend on our perspectives.
Salen K. and Zimmerman E. (2004, p97, cited from Ibid p38-39) told us the Lusory Attitude “in anything but a game the gratuitous introduction of unnecessary obstacles to the achievement of an end is regarded as a decidedly irrational thing to do, whereas in games it appears to be an absolutely essential thing to do.” It “allows players to adopt rules which require one to employ worse rather than better means for reaching an end”. Therefore, players are limited in the rules of the games, and the activities of game playing should be chosen voluntarily.
It is an easy game – control the direction of one fish to eat the smaller fishes, avoid the larger fishes. The only thing we can do is to use the direction buttons to control a fish to get more scores by eating. The free thing is the fish people controlled can “swim” up and down for moving. Otherwise, the fish is in the “sea” and can not touch the larger fish. All of these are the rules of this game, people need to obey the rules and continue getting scores. This is the Lusory Attitude inside.
1. Salen, Katie and Zimmerman, Eric (2004, p93-99). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, Cambridge, Ma: MIT
2. Huizinga Johann (1970). Homo Ludens: a study of the play element in culture, London: Maurice Temple Smith Ltd.
The Manhunt is a good example that why they are banned. It caused a boy killed his friend after he played this game. Therefore, it is considered as the moral panic at that time. This is the main reason that why these games were banned.
On the other hand, “rhetoric” is also considered with these evil games. Salen K. and Zimmerman E. (2004, p517) defined it as “a method of discussion or expression that contains underlying values or beliefs, a method that attempts to persuade others that it is correct.” It means the persuasive languages which consider the positive aspect, even there are lots of negative presses. The languages can be crude or subtle to convince others. Moreover, rhetoric can be verbal, written, visual, and behavioural.
Rhetoric can be used to examine rhetoric of representations of games and examine rhetoric within games themselves. We can use it to find out the value of games, and learn many positive things from them. Moreover, it does not mean that we do not necessary to ban the evil games by the rhetoric. Rhetoric is only the way to help us to think about games. If we do not care about the evil games, they need to “kill” or “be killed”.
Game: World of Warcraft.
World of Warcraft (commonly abbreviated as WoW) is an online role-playing game which developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is very popular and financial success, being the world’s leading subscription-based MMORPG. On January 11, 2007, Blizzard announced that the subscriber base for World of Warcraft has reached a new milestone, with 8 million players worldwide; there are more than 2 million players in North American, 1.5 million players in Europe, and 3.5 million players in China.
In this game, if players want to do all quests and get everything successful, no one knows how long it will take - maybe one year, maybe two years, or more. It is really waste time. However, it is a very successful game in the world, because it gains lots and lots of profits which we are unable to count easily and there are so many people like it very much. If players want to play it well, they need to train their eye-hand co-ordination. Furthermore, it also includes the group work which can help us to know the solidarity in the teams. Otherwise, different kinds of equipments have different effects for different professions. Players can choose what they want to use as they want. Therefore, players can be more satisfied and successful in this invented world.
1. Salen, Katie and Zimmerman, Eric (2004, p515-534). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, Cambridge, Ma: MIT
2. Dr. Benjaminand Spock, MD. and Stephen J. Parker (1998, p623-629). Dr Spock’s Baby and Child Care, the seventh edition, London: W.H.ALLEN & CO. PLC
Pitcher G. (1968, p188-189, cited from Wittgenstein) spoke the family resemblances with the elaborate account of the similarities and differences between various games. He said “we see a complicated network of similarities of similarities overlapping and crisscrossing: sometimes overall similarities, sometimes similarities of detail.” It means different games contain different characteristics, and they work out the family resemblances. Otherwise, there is not any precise boundaries of them.
Games: DOOM II, Civilization II and Samorost 2
Doom II is a shooting game. There are some health, guns and space limited. The mission is to shoot the monsters and find the way for next level. Try to be survival in the end is the main goal.
Civilization II is a constructing game. Players have limited material at the beginning, and the goal is to build a strong country with exploration, colonization, scientific research and diplomacy to the 21st century.
Samorost 2 is a puzzle game. The main goal is to save the dog. Players need to click everywhere in the screen by the mouse to find out the ways to continue.
Three of them have goals and players need to use the mouse, but the rules, goals and play methods are all different.
1. Salen, Katie and Zimmerman, Eric (2004, p71-83). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, Cambridge, Ma: MIT
2. George Pitcher (1968, p186-230). Wittgenstein: the Philosophical investigations, London: Macmillan