How to play Game of Loans

Game nameHave you chosen to play Game of Loans? Of-course you have, learn how to play below and don’t forget to tweet your game experience with #gameofloans . Learn the basics of the game in 90 seconds through the how to video below;

Otherwise for the in-depth concepts please read through the rules below:

Rules

2-6 Players Estimated duration 60minutes-90 minutes Required: 2 dice Pen and Paper

  • Every player starts with $2000
  • Roll a die to see who will go first, then proceed clock-wise around the board once in play.
  • Randomly choose six subject cards and only keep four
  • Add up your debt and keep a tally of your money and your debt on your paper
  • Start on first year (red track)
  • If you land on a couch surfing square and it is not owned you may buy it for the price stated on the square. If you buy a couch that couch will stay with you for the entire game regardless of the year you or other players are in
  • If you land on an owned couch square, pay the owner the amount stated on the square
  • If you land on a life card/ Faculty card/ Job card, pick up the card and follow the cards instructions
  • You can only have one job at any time
  • When you enter a new year you must discard all life/faculty cards you have acquired
  • If you land on a job card, pick up the job card and follow its instructions. If it states per dice roll this includes any extra rolls on your turn that you may receive
  • If you roll a double you can roll again, if you roll three doubles go to Tech Fail
  • If you are sent to Tech Fail you must pick up another subject and add it to your current hand and debt
  • When you pass Centrelink you will receive $300 each time
  • You can only pay off any sum of your debt as you pass Centrelink
  • You must pay off all your subjects to move on to the next year. (2nd year Blue and 3rd year Green)
  • In 3rd year once you have paid off all your subjects you must work your way up the middle rungs (pink/plum) and to graduate you must roll the correct number. These rungs you are able to move forward and back though once back on the green path you can only move forward unless the square/card otherwise states
  • You only borrow $1000 from the Government once, if you cannot pay for something on the board, if you become poor a second time you must drop out of University
  • First person to reach the Graduate square wins
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What about Australia’s mobile game studio’s

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Image source: blogcdn

I was recently reading Christian McCrea’s journal article on ‘The Collapse and Reconstruction of an Industry’, which details the rise and falls of the Australian gaming industry. McCrea(2013, p.203) starts by detailing the history of Australia’s industry, even though the industry is currently suffering, Australia has released multiple popular games such as; The Hobbit in 1982 and Way of the Exploding Fist in 1985.

The 1980’s was the time  of the arcade game; and this resulted in Australia being a prime target for pirated arcade machines, created in Taiwan and Singapore. The Australian gaming industry has since further declined; with Australia mainly working under the work for hire model (McCrea, 2013 p. 204), thus Australians are merely providing labour to popular games instead of creating them. But what about the mobile gaming industry?

McCrea (2013, p204) details that the Australian game industry has had significant success in mobile game creation. The popular Apple store app, Fruit Ninja was developed by a Brisbane based studio. Not only was this a hit on Apple’s app store but you can also find Fruit Ninja in arcades such as Time Zone, where people will pay anywhere between $1-$2.50 to play a round of Fruit Ninja on a large screen to win arcade tickets.

Fruit Ninja is not the only success with Flight Control and Real Racing  both produced by a studio based in Melbourne. With recent mobile gaming success seen by Andy Sum and Matt Hall, the developers of Crossy Road, two individuals whom live in Australia (LeFebvre, 2015). Mobile game studios within Australia are drawing on talent that has been left behind from the collapse of older studios (McCrea, 2013 p.205).

App creation is an emerging business that has seen a magnitude of success as LeFebvre (2015) states Crossy Road made $10 million in ninety days. McCrea I feel does not discuss, the significant market for mobile games and thus, how this may result in aiding in the revival of the Australian gaming industry.

Nevertheless, it is clear the Australian game industry has significantly decayed but has led the way for independent game development and mobile game studios.

References:

LebFebvre, R 2015, How Crossy Road Developers made $10 Million in 90 days, Cult of mac, 4th March, viewed 20th May, <http://www.cultofmac.com/314240/crossy-road-developers-made-10-million-90-days/ >

McCrea, C 2013, Australian Video Games: The Collapse and Reconstruction of an Industry, Gaming Globally, Palgrave Macmillan.

 

Participatory culture; the WORLD of Warcraft

Media content provides the audience an alternative world, which the audience often want to see expanded. The audience engage in participatory media culture where consumers become prosumers (producers and consumers), content creators are of course aware of this culture. Thus, often creators will generate their media content to allow the audience to easily expand on this content. Creators have been doing this since 1932 where Bertolt Breecht and Walter Benjamin wanted to transform radio from a mere analogue device into a device that listeners would not only consume but also be a producer of information (Rassens 2005 p.24). Similarly today with game producers allowing the expansion of MODs.

Rassen (2005 p.24) argues that computer games are re-mediating the participatory culture, which as Rassen (2005 p.24) states was originally formed around television and films. Gaming culture has a strong history of fan communities whom have been active in creating new content (Humphreys, Fitzgerald, Banks et al. 2005 p.17). A perfect example of a participatory gaming culture is World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft is an extensive community that engages in content creation such as Machinima. Firstly what is Machinima?

Berkeley (2006 p.66) defines Machinima as a 3D computer animation gameplay video that has been recorded in real time and then used to produce original video narratives.

Though Machinima was not a planned outcome, Berkeley (2006 p.70) states that Machinima emerged as an unplanned result of user interaction. Nevertheless, whether it was a planned outcome or not Machinima is a popular user generated content.

World of Warcraft users also engage in Mod creation, comic creation as well as streaming on sites such as Twitch. Though there is also a large participatory culture offline, with fans engaging in cosplay of World of Warcraft characters, collecting Pop vinyls and collecting general merchandise of the franchise.

The participatory game culture is a new creative industry that has taken participatory culture to a new level. The audience are now able to expand their favourite games and therefore; expanding characters stories. This allows the creators and consumers of this user generated content to become fully emerged in the world the game provides them removing the games traditional barriers.

References:

Berkeley, Leo (2006), ‘Situating Machinima in the New Mediascape’, International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society. Vol 4. no. 2, pp.65-80.

Humphreys, Sal, Fitzgerald Brian, Banks John, Suzor Nic (2005), ‘Fan-based production for computer games: user-led innovation, the ‘drift of value’ and intellectual property rights’, Media International Australia, no 114, pp.16- 29.

Raessens, J. (2005). Computer games as participatory media culture. In J. Raessens & J. Goldstein (Eds.), Handbook of computer game studies (pp. 373-388). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

DeadWood Kickstarter project review

Kickstarter is a website that allows individuals to pitch ideas to the general public whether it be video games, books, table top games, etc. If the general public likes the project they will hopefully pledge funds in hope the project will be completed. Honan (2013) states that 45 000 projects have been successfully crowd-funded through Kickstarter online donations which is estimated to equal more than half a billion dollars.

I decided to investigate Kickstarter video games when a project called DeadWood: The Forgotten Curse grabbed my attention. I firstly noticed it because of its alternative look, it reminded me of Don’t Starve (which they state this game is Zelda meets Don’t Starve), once I read through the project I was sold. Their project page showed a quality game and it was evident that this game would be produced. There is always the fear you will fund a project on Kickstarter and then discover that the developers are merely using this platform as a quick way to make money or that the project will never be developed. But Deadwood is apparent to already be associated with Steam, PS4 and Xbox.

So what is this game about? Basically you are playing a wooden character who must complete quests with his rock side kick. This game is based on a night/day cycle and at night the side kick will fall into a sleep. When this happens you must protect your side kick whilst herds of sap eating zombies try to kill you. This game is said to not just employ quests and strategy but it also wants to allow the player to be able to explore the world.

This game sounds like it has a strong narrative; however, it also provides an open world map. An open map is important for me as I enjoy exploring at my own leisure and I often enjoy escaping from the set quests.  The game also has a custom feature that allows you to collect resources and craft your own weapons and defences.

They also provide backers pre-purchases of the game on three platforms and merchandise which provides a professional look to their project. They also state they have worked on major feature films such as Avatar and How to Train You Dragon; therefore, I instantly assume they are qualified and will have industry skills backing their project to ensure it will be a high quality game.

Ultimately I would support this project purely due to three main things, I feel I would enjoy this game, the quality demonstrated is high and they adequately explained their project through the use of video content and providing a playable demo.

.Dead wood is also a great current demonstration of what can be achieved from a Kickstarter. With only 31hours to go they have raised $96 710 from 2137 backers.

References:

Honan, M. 2013, Beyond Kickstarter, in Wired, Vol.21, No.3.

The violent video game panic

It is not the first time the media have created a moral panic regarding media content and its affects on the human mind. However, the moral panic that video games lead to aggression and a violent nature, is a prevalent and long debated topic.

There is no clear conclusive study indicating that video games, especially first person shooters, will cause individuals to become more violent in their everyday life. Though it is clear that video games and media content in general can result in an emotive response. Though this is not a new revelation.

The Great Train Robbery a 1903 film had incorporated a scene where the bandit chief points his revolver directly at the camera and shoots.

 According to historical accounts this had the audience at the time screaming in fear and then laughing in relief (Bittanti 2006 p.3). Bittanti (2006 p.3) goes on to explain that the;

fourth wall that separates reality from fictional world’ is broken down by these fictional bullets. Thus the spectators’ emotional response reach its peak. (Bittanti 2006 p.3)

It is this fourth wall, which is broken down when individuals play first person shooters, thus resulting in the moral panic that it will invoke an aggressive emotive response. Firstly we should consider what is a first-person shooter?

Bittanti (2006 p.1) defines first person shooter games as; digital application which was created for recreational purposes. First person shooter really immerses the player within the game, as the player is playing through the characters eyes.

First person shooter games are argued to generate realistic effects thus desensitizing the player to acts of violence (Moore 2012 p 350). Therefore, it is speculated to increase aggression. Though Moore (2012 p.351) states that there is only a small to moderate increase of aggression in the short term after playing violent video games (such as first person shooters) but no indication of harmful long term effects.

The main obvious effect is the ‘twitch’ (Moore 2012 p.349). The simple involuntary reaction of the body, reacting before the cognitive interpretation occurs. Moore (2012 p. 349) explains it as;

The fleeting trace of affect.. excitement,pitch, tenor or dramatic volley between players of opposing teams.

This is actually explaining muscle memory resulting in the body remembering what action it must take in similar future situations, thus retaining the potential to be affected. Although these affects will only be directly involved depending on the intensity of game play (Moore 2012 p.349).

In conclusion I believe that there is a limited study that proves that first person shooters and violent video games cause long term affects to the individual. Video games rather result in the same emotive response as all media content; invoking emotions depending on the connection of the individual to the content.

References:

Bittanti, Matteo (2006), ‘From gunplay to gunporn: A technovisual history of the first-person shooter.’

Moore, C. 2012, ‘Invigorating Play: The Role of Affect in Online Multiplayer FPS Game’, in Guns, Grenades, and Grunts First-Person Shooter Games, edited by Gerald A. Voorhees, Josh Call, Katie Whitlock, Continuum, London.

Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 (Platinum edition) Game Review

The average age of a video game player, according to Williams et al (2008 p.993), is 33 years of age, with 40% of adults engaging in video game content. Whilst the stereotypical gamer is portrayed by print media as a young adolescent male whom is pale and socially inept (Williams et al 2008 p.995). This would be due to 83% (Williams et al 2008 p.993) of adolescent’s engaging in video game content. However, where do I fit in these figures? I am not an adolescent and I am a female whom is well under 33?

I am not a stereotypical gamer but I do consider myself what Bartle would claim to be an achiever (Williams et al 2008 p.995) within the gaming world. Evident my by games of choice, Tycoon games.

Over the Easter break my boyfriend bought me Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 on Steam . This is a game that I thoroughly enjoyed during my early teens and I was excited to once again re-connect with the game.  I have always been an avid Tycoon game type player, perhaps it is due to the philosophy these games incorporate. They include player gifted content (Moore 2011) as well as allowing the player to consistently earn new rides through completing tasks set by the games achievement system and distributed randomly (Moore 2011).

I will admit when I originally played this game I preferred the Sandbox option as it provided me with unlimited money and allowed me to create a large theme park and create many roller coaster designs. Though this time I attempted career mode.

This game does not provide a social aspect due to it being a solitary game, nevertheless, it is possible to play with multiple players which me and my boyfriend did. You simply take turns in building rides and maintaining your park. We found this increased our sociability, unlike other games, as we had to talk and decide plans of action together to achieve our tasks. We were working together as a single character.

The crux of this game is to build a theme park with all the necessities, food/drink/ gift shops, rides (children, roller coasters, transport and thrill), place bins and benches, hire staff and keep them trained and also provide marketing for the park. The goals are simple, achieve the tasks listed to move up the ranks until you hit tycoon level without going bankrupt.

With only playing 8 hours of this game, my boyfriend and I defeated four of the career modes. The issue is, after you have achieved Tycoon level, there is no incentive to continue playing your current park as you no longer achieve any assets. New rides and roller coaster designs are given to you on a time basis not on an achievement basis.

Nevertheless, the platinum edition also has three career modes, Tycoon 3, Soaked and Wild. Each of these are obviously detailing to different types of parks which helps this game to not become repetitive to quickly. Though Wild is a lessen version of Zoo tycoon, which was a disappointment.

Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 has great features including allowing you to choose multiple camera angles so you can enjoy your own rides as your customers would. It is a fun game where the main goals are to achieve tycoon status and I recommend it for other avid tycoon gamers out there.

References:

Moore, C 2011, ‘Hats of Affect: A study of Affect, Achievements and Hats in Team Fortress 2′, in the International Journal of Computer Game Research, Vol. 11, no.1.

Williams, Dmitri, Yee, Nick, and Caplan, Scott (2008), ‘Who plays, how much and why? Debunking the stereotypical gamer profile‘, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication vol. 13 pp.993-1018.

 

Fee Escape- Prototype

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I attempted my hand at game design again this week under the instruction to develop a University based game. I developed a board game modelled on Monopoly entitled, Fee Escape. The basic goal of the game is to pay off your student loans before anyone else.

I employed a turn base structure, this allows for the players to engage in social conversation through-out the game as-well as shifting the centre of attention from player to player (Xu, Barba, Radu et al. 2011 p.9). The rules are based on the Monopoly rules, where you must past ‘Centrelink’ to collect your $300 each round. You can also rent houses on the board but these have leases, when someone lands on your rented property that player will then pay a Couch Surfing fee to the person who is currently renting the11072722_10153058005825129_255690405_n property.  Through- out the game the player has a chance to land on jobs awarding them with extra money, fee reform squares where the individuals student fee’s have risen by a set percentage as well landing on Living expense cards or Fee-help cards and Tech Fail (replacing Monopoly’s Jail square). Living expenses cards and fee-help cards provide monetary prizes to the players, force players to pay out money to the bank or allow them to take actions on other players.

Board games have merged into a computer gaming sphere, modern games are portable and allow a player to engage in a game any time of the day. Whilst my game is asking players to commit perhaps a few hours within the ‘magic circle’ if played correctly. The magic circle is the ‘suspension of normal rules of meaning and behaviour’ (Moore 2011 p.373).  As Moore (2011 p.375) states; a game will rely on the players being able to suspend their reality and ‘enter the system of the game’ (Moore 2011 p.375), to ensure full entertainment value can be achieved.

To ensure my game does not require  a player to be within the ‘magic circle’ for an extended period, a rule has been implemented that after one loan from the bank of $1000 if the player becomes broke they are removed from the University and thus they are removed from the game.

This game is obviously a prototype, and I am looking forward to taking my ideas further.

References:

Moore, C 2011, ‘The magic circle and the movility of play’, Convergence, Vol. 17, No. 373, pp.373-376.

Xu, Y, Barba, E, Radu, I, Gandy, M & MacIntyre, B 2011, ‘Chores are fun: Understanding social play in board games for digital tabletop game designs’,Georgia Institute of Technology, pp.1-14.

Transitioning a video game into a board game

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I attempted my hand at Board game design again this week under the instruction to develop a University based game. I developed a board game modelled on the structure of Monopoly called: Fee Escape. The basic goal of the game is to pay off your student loans before anyone else can pay theirs.

I employed a turn base structure, this allows for the players to engage in social conversation through-out the game as-well as shifting the centre of attention from player to player (Xu, Barba, Radu et al. 2011 p.9). The rules are based on the Monopoly rules, where you must pass ‘Centrelink’ to collect your $300 each round. You can also rent houses on the board but these have leases, when someone lands on your rented property that player11072722_10153058005825129_255690405_n will then pay a Couch Surfing fee to the person who is currently renting the property.  Through-out the game the player has a chance to land on Jobs awarding them with extra money, Fee Reform squares where the individual’s student fees have risen by a set percentage; as well as landing on Living Expense Cards, Fee-Help Cards and the Tech Fail square (replacing Monopoly’s Jail square). The Living Expenses Cards and Fee-Help Cards provide monetary prizes to the players, force players to pay out money to the bank or allow them to take actions on other players.

Board games have merged into a computer gaming sphere, modern games are portable and allow a player to engage in a game any time of the day. Whilst my game is asking players to commit perhaps a few hours within the ‘magic circle’ if played correctly. The magic circle is the ‘suspension of normal rules of meaning and behaviour’ (Moore 2011 p.373).  As Moore (2011 p.375) states; a game will rely on the players being able to suspend their reality and ‘enter the system of the game’ (Moore 2011 p.375), to ensure full entertainment value can be achieved.

To ensure my game does not require  a player to be within the ‘magic circle’ for an extended period, a rule has been implemented that after one loan from the bank of $1000 if the player becomes broke they are removed from the University and thus they are removed from the game.

This game is obviously a prototype, and I am looking forward to taking my ideas further.

References:

Harvey, A and Fisher, S 2013, ‘Making a Name in Games: Immaterial Labour, indie game design and gendered social network markets’, Information, Communication & Society, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp.362-380.

Settlers Of Catan employs social interaction (Board Game Review)

I am not an avid board game player, I enjoy a little bit of Monopoly, UNO, Cards Against Humanity and traditional games you play as a child. I recently, however, played Settlers of Catan which is unlike any game I have played before.

Settlers of Catan is a board game for up to four players, you construct the board yourself and each of these pieces represent resources that you collect during the game. You have settlements which you place on the board, your settlements can not be within one road piece distance of another settlement (even your own) and you must connect your settlements with two roads. Settlements are important because what ever piece of the board you settle on, indicates the resources you will collect if the dice lands on the number shown on this resource board piece.  The goal of the game is to have your settlements equal 10points, the idea is to make trades with other players to gain resources that your need.

Firstly when we were tediously setting up the board all I could think of was how fast and efficient this would be if we were playing the game on the computer. Board games that have merged into the computer gaming sphere have allowed the removal of these ‘chores’ (Xu, Barba, Radu et al. 2011 p.3).  Xu, Barba, Radu et al. (2011 p. 3) also introduce the idea of there being five categories of game play; Chores, Reflection on gameplay, Strategies, Out of game and the Game itself.

I found this board game at the beginning to lack entertainment especially learning the ‘Chores’ we needed to undertake. However, as it progressed and we moved into the ‘strategy’ category of the game play it resulted in strategic fun. Of course it then ended slowly and the entertainment value once against ceased due to there being a clear winner early on and we were merely waiting for that player to just achieve that magic number of ten.

Settlers of Catan though allows deep social interaction between players, through strategy, trading and its overall turn base structure. The turn base structure allows time for external conversation, strategy conversation and allows the centre of attention to shift through –out the game (Xu, Barba, Radu et al. 2011 p.9).

Overall this game became mundane and repetitive. However, this would not have been the case if there was not a clear winner for the last forty five minutes of game play.

References:

Xu, Y, Barba, E, Radu, I, Gandy, M & MacIntyre, B 2011, ‘Chores are fun: Understanding social play in board games for digital tabletop game designs’, Georgia Institute of Technology, pp.1-14.