Beyond P-1: Who Plays Online?

Avery Alix
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

Academics and industry professionals alike have long been interested in developing a nuanced and empirically sound typography of online gamers. Designers and engineers are aware of the value of well-considered "personas" to help guide the software development process. This study takes a new, quantitative approach to analyzing the aggregation of empirical characteristics for more than 1100 gamers. A statistical process called “factor analysis” reduces the dimensionality of this study’s survey data and mathematically suggests four distinct archetypes of online gamers that statistically account for more than two-thirds of play preferences. The significance of these findings is that they offer quantitative support for characterizing different kinds of online gamers in the way that other researchers have qualitatively interpreted their experiences.


Computer Game Criticism: A Method for Computer Game Analysis

Konzack Lars
2002 Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings

In this paper, we describe a method to analyse computer games. The analysis method is based on computer games in particular and not some kind of transfer from other field or studies - even though of course it is inspired from other kinds of analysis methods from varying fields of studies. The method is based on seven different layers of the computer game: hardware, program code, functionality, game play, meaning, referentiality, and socio-culture. Each of these layers may be analysed individually, but an entire analysis of any computer game must be analysed from every angle. Thereby we are analysing both technical, aesthetic and socio-cultural perspectives.


Supporting visual elements of non-verbal communication in computer game avatars

Kujanpää Tomi Manninen Tony
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

Communication between players in networked computer games is often inadequately implemented. The games do not exploit the full potential of using different forms of communication possibilities between players, and therefore result in problems in sending and receiving messages. This paper introduces a model that describes how visual aspects of non-verbal communication (NVC) in avatars could be systematically designed. The model can be used as a guideline in the design process of more communicative avatars. The study was conducted using a variety of research methods. The topic has been approached from both the constructive and theoretic-conceptual viewpoints. Nonverbal communication theories have been used as the framework to construct avatars for game environments and to form a model that supports the design of NVC elements into avatars. The primary result of the work is a model that describes how to design more communicative avatars. The model introduces the aspects required when considering the designing of the visual elements of NVC. As an empirical result, the avatars based on the model determine how different elements of NVC work, and how NVC could be used in the avatar context. The results can be applied for design and construction purposes, as well as for further research into the diverse areas of avatar design. The model describes three layers that can be used to guide the work of avatar designers and creators in supporting the visual elements of communication in computer game avatars. The model shows that designers and creators should search for the required elements of the NVC, vary these elements to form a rich set of ways to use them, and finally, personalise the avatars by selecting varied elements for separate avatars to support natural communication.


The attack of the backstories (and why they won’t win)

Myers David
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

This essay adopts a formal model of play as semiosis [18] to explore the often dysfunctional role of backstories within computer game design and play. Within this model, backstories indicate an extended play of contextualization. This definition raises questions concerning the appropriateness of backstories as currently implemented within many computer game designs. For instance, backstories are clearly not critical to all computer game play. And, even when limiting analysis solely to role-playing games, the use of backstories as design tools (as opposed to marketing devices or play supplements) remains problematic. Conclusions concern "pre-narrative" aspects of play--particularly when narrative is defined (e. g., within narrative psychology) as a folk theory of causes.


As if by Magic: On Harry Potter as a Novel and Computer Game

Gunder Anna
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

This paper examines the computer game Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in relation to the novel with the same title. The analysis focuses on the temporal aspects of the works, and differences and similarities regarding both media structure and artistic devices are described. The notion of content space is central and a distinction is made between information content space, action content space, and task content space, which form various kinds of works and structures. Moreover, instead of the traditional pair story and discourse, the four concepts of performed discourse, performed story, omnidiscourse, and omnistory are used to reveal temporal effects and characteristics of the game. Finally, it is concluded that the two works, although different in many ways, play with the same user effects, suspense, curiosity, and surprise, to capture and keep the user’s interest.


Playing Through: the Future of Alternative and Critical Game Projects

Crogan Patrick
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

This paper explores a number of experimental game-based projects (including Tekken Torture Tournament, Painstation, September 12th: A Toy World, Under Ash, Desert Rain) in order to interrogate the critical potential of computer games. Gonzalo Frasca’s proposition this this potential arises from the nature of computer games as simulations will be evaluated with reference to Bernard Stiegler’s conceptualization of the mnemotechnical forms humans have developed for the recording and interpretation of cultural experience. In this light, simulation will be compared to narrative and theatrical forms, the forms to which Frasca opposes it in his account of simulation as the “form of the future.” We will see that the past of computer simulation, a past dominated by military techno-scientific developments, comes with it and must be considered in any theorisation of its critical potential as a cultural form.