by Chris Billowsin Playstates Theory0 commentstags: Games Analysis, Playstates
I’ve read a few articles and posts criticizing Video Games being too much about Power Fantasy. The dynamics found in leveling a character, getting better gear, defeating an enemy, accumulating resources, exploiting an environment, etc. is all about dominating something else and the 4X genre would be its marquee. The aesthetics contained in Power Fantasy is a turn off to a minority of players, who fall into the trap of criticizing the entire industry unfairly. The reason why I say it is unfair is because I believe there is a very valid reason why Video Games naturally gravitate towards Power Fantasy. Video Games tend towards Power Fantasy because Games are about the Play of Measurement and measurement is essentially another term for power. This was beautifully captured in Carroll Quigley’s The Evolution Of Civilizations which talked about how the first hierarchies of civilization arose by their ability to track the measurements of the stars: Page 211-213 ... The chief tasks of the priesthoods, at the later date, beyond their obvious religious functions, were the study of the stars and the keeping of the records of celestial observations. From this evidence we might infer that, at some remote date, some unsung […]
by Chris Billowsin Playstates Theory0 commentstags: Playstates
Playstates can be found as distinct activities within the Fandom industry. I call it Followship and would define it as the act of collecting, collating, and consuming a Media Franchise. It is an elaboration on the concept of Fandom using the five Playstates. We can find Playstates in Fandom with the following examples: Toys/Playgrounds – toys and fan clubs/conventions. Role-Plays – fanboys/fangirls and cosplays. Puzzles – fan-fiction and plot/canon holes. Games – collecting the Media Franchise. Sports – fans who root for favorite media franchise to be popular. While Fandom is the industry, Followship is the distinct behaviors of play found within it.
by Chris Billowsin Playstates Theory0 commentstags: Change of Mind, Comprehensive Analysis, Playstates
After posting about Playstates, a commentator on Twitter said that he wanted to see more discussion about how Playstates relates to core concepts like Interactivity, Narrative, etc. I had intentionally left out those concepts because I wanted to stay away from a dead-end debate. Many game designers and developers have argued that Games and Video Games in particular have a unique monopoly with those concepts. I admit that I thought so as well but now I see it in a new way after writing this article. The problem I think is that we have assigned those concepts to Games and Video Games because that is where they are most overtly demonstrated. When we think Game, we automatically think about how to play its rules, how we interact with it, how the rules affects our agency, and the underlying mechanics that makes the Game run. The push by some Video Game designers to see Narratives as being critical to a Game is a relatively recent occurrence. But similarly to how definitions can be broad but not deep enough, I think the same limitation has occurred here. We have captured the obvious, low-hanging fruit. While an arcade game has easy to see […]
by Chris Billowsin Hobby Heedings, Playstates Theory0 commentstags: Game Philosophy, Playstates
Over at DavidMullich.com I shared a couple of comments relating to his definitions on Games. #1 Hi David! I appreciate your definition “a playful activity with rules and goals.” but do think it does not go deep enough. A jigsaw puzzle has rules and a goal, but its not a game (which is why its called a puzzle). A role-playing game also has a rules and goals, but its not a game like chess is. I’ve come up with a definition to games that satisfies my mind and I would like to share it. “Games are about the Play of Measurement”. The measurement can be physics (3D shooters), grid (board games), tractable (CRPGs), etc. I’ve included a link to my theory blog post so would welcome your thoughts. Best regards, Chris #2 I agree with you. A Jigsaw puzzle is not a game, but could be made a game by adding a time limit (complete the puzzle in x amount of time). I believe you would say that this is an example of conflict (race vs the clock) while I would see it as a Puzzle made into a Game by the addition of the Play of Measurement (time being […]