Game Mechanics Part II: Roger Caillois

Forms of Play really elements Stimulates because it is Archaeology games
Competition Agon (competition / strategy) Compete against people, long-term decision making Civilization? All those build empire games..
Chance Alea Handling unpredictability, humour Could Spore be an archaeoogy game?
Vertigo Ilinx Mastery of commitment, mental focus, multi-tasking The extreme parkour of Assassin’s creed?
Mimicry mimesis Observation, control and humour and roleplaying  ? Maybe if the Sims 4 was used as anthropological machinima?

Roger Caillois wrote about four forms of play (a spectrum ranging from free play to the rules-based essence of games). He wrote about non-digital games but his work has been reviewed and critiqued by many game theorists (and anthropologists).

I still find it useful myself, but I would modify it as per the above table (not so much as forms of play but as motivators for mechanics)* and with the following comments:

  1. Competition motivates people for two reasons, they love competing against others, and they also love long-term strategy making but these are often quite different, so perhaps this form of play is actually two forms of play?
  2. Chance stimulates people to play because of the above, but it is also frustrating unless handled well with suitable game balance (I don’t like playing snakes and ladders because it is all about chance so perhaps I am biased).
  3. Vertigo is an interesting one, in dance-based games, seldom in computer games (and perhaps even more dangerous in VR-Head mounted games due to the potential for nausea), and very very uncommon in games for archaeology! I will have to really investigate whether any archaeology-games use vertigo!
  4. Mimicry: despite so many cultural rituals and games using this, this is so rare in computer games (yes, I know, Spy Party but a 7 year development cycle does not give me confidence).

Actually there is another column (not in this article) where I will bullet point some ideas for leveraging these play forms to communicate archaeological significance, progress, and controversy. For another day!

*Motivators for mechanics, what I mean here are the motivators that mechanics try to leverage, the reasons people are stimulated to play games..I understand the MDA framework may attribute this to aesthetics, but I feel their three-part theory for game design (Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics) compacts too many different components into three overly simple concepts.

Article References:





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s