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Posts Tagged ‘Fun’

If you asked me at the start of the summer if I was an ngmoco fan boy I probably would have told you yes. Their level of polish and craftsmanship towards their games fascinated me and getting to meet their president Neil Young at the past GDC was a real treat.

At the start of the summer they had just released WeRule and had announced God Finger would be arriving in a few weeks and I couldn’t have been more excited.

But as the summer comes to and end I find myself respecting them less and less as a company. Why? Well with the release of WeFarm a few weeks ago it has become apparent to me that ngmoco is no longer interested in making fun, compelling, high quality games like they use to. Instead they are content with pumping out re-skins of systems that create traffic to their Plus+ network.

From a business standpoint you have to applaud them. They are making boat loads of money but I miss the early days when they made boat loads of money because they made awesome games.

If anything, this experience has made me more determined to not let money get in the way of me making video games. I wouldn’t mind being successful, but I’d hate to “sell out” and start pumping out clones so I could roll around in piles of money.

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I’m excited.

There is a new app coming out for the iPhone called Epic Win which looks awesome. It’s a ToDo list with a twist, one that has you completing task like an RPG and leveling up a character, finding loot and generally being awesome. It’s being created by Rexbox (one of the artists who worked on Little Big Planet) and Studio FungFung (who made MiniSquadron for the iPhone). It looks spectacular and a lot of fun!

I have tried a number of ToDo applications and computer programs. None of them are really my thing. My problem with them is I never feel like there is any incentive to actually use them. I start off with good intentions and slowly stop using it because I don’t have a reason to come back to it. I’m hoping Epic Win will change that by making my activities more than things I cross off a list.

Things like this have been done before in the app store, but there’s something about wrapping it up in a fantasy world illustrated by Rexbox that appeals to me. I’m also really interested in the loot they talk about (who doesn’t want a Helm of Questionable Appeal?) and seeing how they are going to pull off the app in general.

One question many people have been asking about the app is what is going to keep people from cheating? The answer is simple: nothing really, but that’s not the point of the app. While there are game elements wrapped into it, the app is suppose to encourage users to actually use there ToDo list and feel a sort of exhilaration from completing tasks. It a great example of Alternate Reality Gaming at its finest and I hope it comes out soon.

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After another play test yesterday I finally have the rules for Fuse nailed down. There are now two versions of the game depending on how many people are playing. The two player version is more akin to chess pitting players head to head to see who can blow up the opponent’s bomb first. The four player version shares many of the same rules as its two player counter part, with a few exceptions.

2 Player Fuse

Objective

Player’s are trying to blow up their opponent’s bomb by creating a path using fuse tiles from a detonator to an opponent’s bomb. First player to successfully blow up the other player wins.

Setup

  1. Players are given 5 tiles (1 detonator, 1 bomb and 3 banks) that they line up in any order they choose. The bomb and the detonator have to have their fuses pointing inwards towards the center of the board. Player do this without showing other players.
  2. Players reveal their choices and connect the corner pieces to create a board that is 7×7 tiles. This leaves a 5×5 playing field.
  3. Players each draw 3 tiles from a pile making sure not to show them to the other players.

Rules

  1. Players take turns placing or rotating tiles starting with the player who has been burned or lit something and rotating clockwise.
  2. Tiles can only be placed on the end of their fuse. Once a tile is placed the player draws a new tile to ensure they have 3 tiles.
  3. Players can only rotate tiles the are a part of their fuse line. Tiles can be rotated as desired.
  4. Once a tile is rotated it is locked cannot be rotated until it it is the turn of the player who rotated it.
    • Exception to this rule! If tiles are rotated so that a player ends up back at their detonator and the only action they can take is to rotate a tile that is locked they may rotate a locked tile.
  5. After a player’s turn both detonators are pressed. If a detonator is connected to a bomb it blows up.
  6. When a player’s bomb blows up they lose.

4 Player Fuse

Objective

Player’s are trying to blow up their opponent’s bomb by creating a path using fuse tiles from a detonator to an opponent’s bomb. First player to achieve a score decided on by the players wins. Recommended score is 15.

Setup

  1. Players are given 3 tiles (1 detonator, 1 bomb and 1 banks) that they mix up face down on the table. They then reveal them and place them in the middle 3 slots. The bomb and the detonator have to have their fuses pointing inwards towards the center of the board.
  2. Players each draw 3 tiles from a pile making sure not to show them to the other players.

Rules

  1. Players take turns placing or rotating tiles starting with the player who has been burned or lit something and rotating clockwise.
  2. Tiles can only be placed on the end of their fuse. Once a tile is placed the player draws a new tile to ensure they have 3 tiles.
  3. Players can only rotate tiles the are a part of their fuse line. Tiles can be rotated as desired.
  4. Once a tile is rotated it is locked cannot be rotated until it it is the turn of the player who rotated it.
    1. Exception to this rule! If tiles are rotated so that a player ends up back at their detonator and the only action they can take is to rotate a tile that is locked they may rotate a locked tile.
  5. After a player’s turn all detonators are pressed. If a detonator is connected to a bomb it blows up. Players receive 1 point for each tile used to create the path to the bomb. If the path passes through a tile more than once it only counts for 1 point.
    • If a player blows up their own bomb they lose the number of points they would have gained.
  6. The tiles used to create the path are then removed from the board and play continues.
  7. When a player’s bomb blows up that player takes their 3 tiles (detonator, bomb, blank) and reshuffles them. On their turn the player reveals the new tile placement and begins playing like normal again.
    • If there is a pathway to the player’s bomb once the new placement is revealed the player still gets to complete their turn before the detonators are pressed.

Special Cases

In the event that the board gets completely filled with tiles a new placement rule goes into effect.

  1. Players may rotate or replace tiles along their fuse path with the three tiles they posses. Drawing no longer takes place because players are replacing tiles.

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In my attempt to better define what a constitutes a game I will be taking a closer look at the components of  games. The first piece I want to investigate is the aspect of “fun” in games and the problems that arise from including it in the definition.

Many people think fun is an important component of games because it separates work from play. The with including fun as a part of the definition of a game is fun is such a vague, subjective term. What I think is fun is vastly different from what you think is fun. Fun is also transitive, in the sense that something can be fun right now, but what is fun now is not necessarily fun a minute from now. Does that mean that an activity is a game while I’m having fun, but as soon as I’m not it ceases to be labeled as such?

So, if we include fun in our definition of what makes a game, we run into the issue of allowing the player to define what a game is. While this is not a bad thing (art after operates in this fashion), it makes it rather hard to talk about games from an academic standpoint. It it also important to note that as game designers we should want to create engaging (not necessarily fun!) games because only creating fun limits us. As an artistic medium games should be able to focus on more than sunshine, puppies and rainbows.

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