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Chapter 1.2 Games and Society. Why Do People Play Video Games?. Audience and Demographics. What good are demographics? Are they always accurate? Recent survey: what stands out?. Audience and Demographics: ESRB. EC (Early Childhood) E (Everyone) E10+ (Everyone 10+) T (Teen)

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Presentation Transcript
audience and demographics
Audience and Demographics
  • What good are demographics?
  • Are they always accurate?
  • Recent survey: what stands out?

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audience and demographics esrb
Audience and Demographics: ESRB
  • EC (Early Childhood)
  • E (Everyone)
  • E10+ (Everyone 10+)
  • T (Teen)
  • M (Mature)
  • AO (Adults Only)
  • 32 different “Content Descriptors”

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audience and demographics esrb 2003 statistics
Audience and Demographics: ESRB 2003 Statistics
  • 57% of games received an E rating
  • 32% of games received a T rating
  • 10% of games received an M rating
  • 1% received an EC rating

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audience and demographics esrb 2003 statistics 2
Audience and Demographics: ESRB 2003 Statistics (2)
  • 70% of best-selling console games were E or T rated
  • 90% of best-selling PC games were E or T rated
  • Buying habits or development habits?

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societal reaction to games
Societal Reaction to Games
  • Misleading perception of games as being child’s play
  • Violence in video games drawing parental attention
  • Legal Issues (1992)
    • Night Trap
    • Mortal Kombat
  • Led to Senate Hearings (1993)

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societal reaction to games1
Societal Reaction to Games
  • Legal Issues: Doom (1994) and the 1999 Columbine Massacre
    • Shooters were known to play Doom
    • Lawsuits were initiated against the industry, but eventually dropped

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societal reaction to games2
Societal Reaction to Games
  • Legal Issues: Grand Theft Auto
    • GTA: Vice City
      • Haitian-American Rights Groups
    • GTA: San Andreas
      • “Hot Coffee” mod

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societal reaction to games3
Societal Reaction to Games
  • Games and Youth Violence
    • Root of All Evil, or Good, Old-Fashioned Fun?

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cultural issues
Cultural Issues
  • Abuse of stereotypes (Shadow Warrior)
  • Foreign Diplomacy
    • Germany (The Index – List of banned games)
    • China, Japan (controversial elements)
  • Cultural Acceptance
    • Changing standards and thresholds

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society within games online behavior
Society Within Games:Online Behavior
  • The Good
    • Everquest Weddings
  • The Bad
    • Addictive properties
    • Online rivalries becoming offline rivalries
    • Can games contribute to erratic offline behaviors?
  • The Ugly
    • Disinhibition and deindividuation occur because of perceived anonymity.
    • Hate crimes

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society within games
Society Within Games
  • Tools
    • Moderators
    • Communication tools
    • Fan sites to discuss gameplay and community outside of the game

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the upshot
The Upshot
  • Games are an immature medium

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what is fun
What is Fun?
  • Dictionary:
    • Enjoyment, a source of amusement
  • Important to consider underlying reasons
  • “Funativity” – thinking about fun in terms of measurable cause and effect

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getting a handle on fun play
Getting a handle on fun/play …
  • Evolutionary roots popular
    • Johann Huizinga, Homo Ludens
  • But different ways to proceed
    • Play as basic desire?
    • Play as “evolutionary advantage”?
    • Crawford, Salen/Zimmerman, Koster, ….

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evolutionary roots
Evolutionary Roots
  • We must look to our distant past
    • Young mammals play to learn basic survival skills
    • Games are organized play
    • Human entertainment is also at its heart about learning how to survive
    • Mating and social rules also critical to us
  • Education == Entertainment
    • Fun is about practicing or learning new survival skills in a relatively safe setting

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natural funativity theory
Natural Funativity Theory
  • Basic concept is that all fun derives from practicing survival and social skills
  • Key skills relate to early human context, but often in modern guise
  • Three overlapping categories
    • Physical, Social, and Mental

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definition of a great game
Definition of a Great Game
  • A great game is a series of interesting and meaningful choices made by the player in pursuit of a clear and compelling goal

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a series of choices in pursuit of a goal
A Series of … Choices in Pursuit of a … Goal
  • Interactivity
  • Games = goals and rules?
    • Toys vs. games?
  • Interesting and Meaningful Choices
    • Meaningful choices are perceived by the player as having significant consequences
  • S/Z: meaningful play
    • Actions to outcomes are “descriptive and integrated”

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a series of choices
A Series of Choices
  • No choice

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a series of choices1
A Series of Choices
  • Meaningless choices

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a series of choices2
A Series of Choices
  • Infinite choices

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a series of choices3
A Series of Choices
  • Choose wisely

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classic game structure
Classic Game Structure
  • Convexities
    • Other terms (e.g., Narrative spine)
  • Fractal nature

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a series of convexities
A Series of Convexities
  • Popular structure
  • Some freedom, implementable

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the concept of flow
The Concept of Flow
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    • “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience”
  • Flow is a state of exhilaration, deep sense of enjoyment
  • Usually when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile

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the flow channel
The Flow Channel
  • Start with relatively low level of challenge to match starting skill levels
  • Gradually increase challenge
  • Fast enough to prevent boredom
  • Not so fast as to induce frustration

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story and character
Story and Character
  • Emotional association, strengthen reaction
  • Interactive story different than linear stories
    • Murray, Hamlet on the Holodeck
  • “Do, don’t show”
    • Don’t make choices for the player
    • Bring out character through action
  • Gameplay Trumps Story!

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