Thursday, 15 March 2007


At the end of a goal there is nearly always a reward and the majority of the time we have to strive and stick with a particular activity to achieve this goal. The definition of reward in the dictionary is “reward n something that is given in return for something done”. Often we would associate a reward with something physical such as money for chores, a promotion from work or eating something you enjoy after doing a piece of school work. However, we can also apply the idea of gaining rewards to gaming.

Within games we often have rewards that we always strive to achieve or gain. These rewards can vary from collecting keys and passwords to completing a level to move on to the next. Have you ever thought about what you normally do to gain these rewards? Gamers often put themselves through pain to gain the rewards within the game that they are playing. Most people will put themselves though the pain of being stuck on levels, stuck trying to kill one character and doing the same task over and over to get the reward of the new level. If I think back to a time when I was stuck on in a game, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, I would often push myself to sit and play the same level over and over just to try and get over one river without falling in and having to play the level again. The reason I strived to get past this part in the level was so I could move onto next world. The next world was my reward. Quite often I would get very frustrated with playing the same level all the time, but I would make sure I did it so I could get my reward.

However, the reward was the irrelevant part of playing Sonic. It did not matter what the reward was, I was just striving to gain my reward and the pleasure that getting rewards can give. This can be applied to many other games and it will never matter what a gamers reward is. It is purely about how the human brain is wired to seek out rewards. This can be within digital gaming or in real life.

Word Count: 379


Glossary of Terms (Date unknown) Retrieved from the World Wide Web on March 8th 2007 from:

English Dictionary (2005), Geddes and Grosset

Magic Circle and Lusory Attitude

All games seem to have a zone that all gamers enter. This seems to come from the context in which the game is played. For example, all games have space, time and boundaries that players have to conform too to be a part of the game.

Dutch Anthropologist, Joham Huizinga created the idea of a magic circle to explain the physical and psychological barriers that players must go through to conform to the ideals that games create. The magic circle is about understanding that games are played outside the normal physical world and within an enchanted zone that players allow themselves to belong to. The in magic circle there is rules that apply to create the enchanted zone. Time, space and boundaries are either stretched or limited within a lot of games and with some games one rule will apply more than others. In a game such as Civilisation, the rule of space and boundaries apply more than time. Throughout this game a player is allowed to create their own civilisation using the space that they can acquire. Huizinga would say that players are gaining a Lusory Attitude when they can conform to these rules. A Lusory attitude is a player’s view of this magic circle and how they are taking a psychological view to take part in completing a games rule.

My own experiences of a Lusory attitude have been quite varied. A games console that tries to bend the rules of physical boundaries when playing a game is the Nintendo Wii. When playing a Wii, players are able to move anywhere within the room they are in to play a character. A good example of this would be Tennis (available on Wii Sports), where the player is able to move across a whole room to make their character move across the tennis court. When playing this a player must adapt a serious Lusory attitude to be able to take the game seriously when running around and swinging their arms around there living room. Before playing this game I would never thought a player had to create a Lusory attitude to playing, but after playing this I can understand that a player must create one to be able to play on a Nintendo Wii.

Word Count: 380


Jarvinen, Aki. (Date Unknown) A Meaningful Read: Rules of Play Reviewed
Retrieved from World Wide Web on March 1st:

Ban those Evil Games

Within digital gaming there is a vast quantity of violence that is shown to many different audiences. This has often been given a lot of bad press in the media due to the consequences the violence has had on some gamers and the impact that it is seen as having upon western society. Newspapers like the Daily Mail have printed front-page articles on saying that all violent games should be banned with titles such as, “Ban These Evil Games”(July, 2004) and “Murder by Playstation” (July, 2004).

Due to the rare violence some gamers have been made to show within real life, some people have been using rhetoric to say that all violent games should be banned due to there influences on gamers themselves. Rhetoric is said to be “generally understood to be the art or technique of persuasion through the use of oral or written language” (Wikipedia, 2007). It tends to be used to persuade an audience of someone else’s values and beliefs. An example of rhetoric being used to comment on gaming is the Daily Mail articles that I mentioned before. Where one single gamer has used violence in the outside world, so one person has the view that all games are bad. They then try to tell everyone that this is the correct view to have on violent games. However the idea of using rhetoric to say all games are bad and trying to ban them, can have the opposite and in fact, make the game even more attractive to some gamers. In the incident of “Manhunt”, trying to ban this game, made gamers want to get their hands on the game even more than before. This can also be seen within trailers for games. Such as a trailer for the game “Doom 3”. In this trailer we notice the violence and distinct comparison with horror movies, that would attract a violent audience to play this game. There is also a short message that carries through the trailer saying “A routine mission… Becomes anything but routine”. A male voice at the end states “Your death is coming”, spelling out the violent behaviour that would be involved in playing the game.

“Doom 3” shows that using stuble rhetoric to show the violence within a trailer or any other means can easily persuade people to buy or play a particular video game.

Word Count: 398


Doom 3 trailer. Retrieved from world wide web on March 5th, 2007 from:

Rhetoric (Date Unknown) Retrived from world wide web on March 5th, 2007 from:

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theory of language games is to show how people learn to use language and can explain how, quite often, people don’t know what their language really means. For example, how children learn a language with mechanical responses before really knowing what their language means or what they are saying.

Wittgenstein starts by saying that within all languages there are language games. We play language games when we tell jokes, make riddles, give orders and obey them and sing songs. However, the term language game itself does not have one simple meaning, much like Wittgenstein is trying to explain with words themselves. He tries to show that a vast amount of words have different meanings to different people and that his theory is not just to show how we should use words but also to try to diffuse the confusion that is created with language games.

We can apply this theory to the word “game”. When we try to look at what the word “game” means we can see that there is a whole range of associated words and concepts. For most people the idea of “game” is something that is fun, with rules, competitive, aims, interacting between players, addictive, etc. However some people view some games as being more fun than others. Chess tends to be something that people can see as a fun game and others don’t. There is also the fact that some games contain some idea of what a game is, while others will have different ideas about games.
The game Samorost 2 doesn’t have the same “fun” appeal to some people as a game such as Doom 2 would have. Samorost 2 is a puzzle game to try and get back the main characters pet. To do this, you need to click on the correct pieces in the game in a correct order to move onto a new area. This has the idea of having a fixed aim within the game and having strict rules. However, Doom 2 has less fixed rules as the main aim is just simple to kill as many people as possible. This game has less rules than Samorost 2 but in both games you need to move onto a new area.

Shawver, Lois. (Date Unknown) Wittgenstein's Concept of a Language Game
Retrieved on 8th February 2007 from the World Wide Web: