Considering the Person in the Puzzle: Challenging common assumptions about Sudoku player strategies

Lynch Alice Jefferson Chris Hinrichs Uta
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

Pen & paper puzzle games are an extremely popular pastime, often enjoyed by demographics normally not considered to be gamers. There has been extensive research into generating and efficiently solving digital pen and paper puzzle games, often by creating an artificial player. However, there have been few academic studies focusing on players themselves. We conducted a qualitative study where we observed the Sudoku solving strategies of 31 participants. Our findings reveal interesting discrepancies between common assumptions about players’ Sudoku solving strategies made by both guides and AI Sudoku systems, and their actual approach. For example, in contrast to approaching Sudokus in a systematic way and applying simple deductions—a strategy commonly assumed by AI systems—we found that a range and combination of strategies are applied to even the simplest Sudokus. Our findings suggest new directions for designers (both human and AI) of Sudoku and other puzzles, informed by players rather than models.


How is the Gacha System Reported on in Japan?

Fujihara Masahito Shibuya Akiko
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

This study explains how the gacha, a random-type item provider system in mobile online games or game apps, is reported on in Japan by analyzing 233 newspaper articles. Results revealed that business frames were the most frequently used. After gacha became controversial in 2012, its problematic social nature was reported. After the controversy, news stories shifted focus more to the inaccuracy of probability rates of special items. The Japanese newspapers reported the innovative but controversial nature of gacha by balancing complaints from consumers, concerns and criticism from governmental organizations, and the profits and social responsibility of the game industry.


EVE is Real

Carter Marcus Bergstrom Kelly Webber Nick Milik Oskar
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Used in a wide variety of contexts, a common colloquialism among EVE Online players is the phrase ‘EVE is real’. In this paper, we examine the various ways in which EVE is considered ‘real’ by its players, identifying a nuanced and powerful concept that goes significantly beyond real/virtual distinctions that have already been critiqued in game studies literature. We argue that, as a form of paratext, colloquialisms like this play an enormous role in shaping EVE Online’s informal rules (in particular towards treachery), constructing the identity of EVE Online players, communicating the seriousness of EVE Online play while in other cases, emphasizing the gameness of the MMOG.


Designing Inside the Box or Pitching Practices in Industry and Education

Altizer Roger Zagal José P.
2014 DiGRA '14 - Proceedings of the 2014 DiGRA International Conference

Pitching, the act of trying to convince others to support the development of a project, has a long, storied tradition in the game industry. This practice has also been adopted by game educators and incorporated into their curricula. In project-oriented classes it is common for students to pitch games to classmates, industry panels, and faculty. Using a series of vignettes, informed by anonymous industry professionals, we explore the mores and myths of pitching. These vignettes reflect a variety of pitching practices in companies both large and small. We also present a pedagogical tool, the Design Box, discuss our experiences using it, including common critiques, and illustrate its use for creative ideation as well as persuasive potential. The Design Box is a method we present for adoption, critique and evaluation. We conclude with a call to explore more practices that find their referent in ‘the industry’ and the development of appropriate pedagogical techniques we can incorporate in game education programs.


Constructing the Ideal EVE Online Player

Bergstrom Kelly Carter Marcus Woodford Darryl Paul Christopher A.
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

EVE Online, released in 2003 by CCP Games, is a space-themed Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG). This sandbox style MMOG has a reputation for being a difficult game with a punishing learning curve that is fairly impenetrable to new players. This has led to the widely held belief among the larger MMOG community that “EVE players are different”, as only a very particular type of player would be dedicated to learning how to play a game this challenging. Taking a critical approach to the claim that “EVE players are different”, this paper complicates the idea that only a certain type of player capable of playing the most hardcore of games will be attracted to this particular MMOG. Instead, we argue that EVE’s “exceptionalism” is actually the result of conscious design decisions on the part of CCP games, which in turn compel particular behaviours that are continually reinforced as the norm by the game’s relatively homogenous player community.