Paratextual Play: Unlocking the Nature of Making-of Material of Games

Glas René
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

Similar as to how films are accompanied with bonus features and extras on their dvd release, digital games too are sometimes released with supplemental materials which provide insight in the creative development process. Examples of these are behind-the-scenes documentaries, concept art, audio commentaries, and so on. In the study of digital games this material could easily be overlooked or primarily seen as marketing material outside and therefore not part of a game itself. This paper will discuss a shift in the paratextual location and function of making-of material from an external to internal or even integral part of the digital game experience. In some contemporary games, making-of material has become a feature which has a visible presence during play, and at times can only be accessed by unlocking them, which invites players to forms of paratextual play. In these play situations, paratext and text entangle, resulting not just in a potential shaping of the understanding but also of the playing of digital games, making them part of players’ gaming capital. By engaging with this type of making-of material, players are not just framed as knowledgeable insider in the creative process of game design but also acknowledged expert in terms of gaming prowess, requiring us to rethink how we approach making-of material as paratexts.


The Achievement Machine: Understanding the Xbox Live Metagame [Abstract]

Jakobsson Mikael
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

Xbox Live Achievements and Gamerscores have become an important part of Xbox 360 gaming and have played an important role in the success of the console. Based on the framework provided by Microsoft, the community has created a rich and intriguing meta-game where the individual games become pieces of a larger whole. ... This paper is based on a year-long study of Xbox Live gamers. The empirical materials are made up of blogs, news sites, forums, podcasts, YouTube clips, participatory observations during Xbox Live gaming sessions, articles and reviews from enthusiast and mainstream press as well as face-to-face interviews. The theoretical foundation for the investigation is a mix of gamestudies, internet studies, sociology of technology and critical media studies.


Framework for Designing and Evaluating Game Achievements

Hamari Juho Eranti Veikko
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

This paper presents a framework for evaluating and designing game design patterns commonly called as “achievements”. The results are based on empirical studies of a variety of popular achievement systems. The results, along with the framework for analyzing and designing achievements, present two definitions of game achievements. From the perspective of the achievement system, an achievement appears as a challenge consisting of a signifying element, rewards and completion logics whose fulfilment conditions are defined through events in other systems (usually games). From the perspective of a single game, an achievement appears as an optional challenge provided by a meta-game that is independent of a single game session and yields possible reward(s).