Friday, 9 March 2007


Huizing, J (1955). Homo Ludens: a Study of the Play Element in Culture / by J. Huizinga. Boston, MA: Beacon.

Poole, S (2000). Trigger Happy: Videogames and the Entertainment Revolution. New York: Arcade.

Saunderman, S (1999). Unwritten Rules. The Life of Games. April. Retrieved 3 March 2007 from

Salen, K and Zimmerman, E (2004). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

Williams, D (2003). Review of Mark J. P. Wolf, ed., The Medium of the Video Game. Popular Communication, 1 (4), pp.251-253, Retrieved 3 March 2007 from

Week 5

Players of games get pleasure from games. Flow is one of the elements related to the pleasure. Flow suggested by Mihaly Csikszentmchalyi is that “a musicians, rock climber, chess players and other people engaged in very complex tasks reported an experience of ecstasy or bliss, losing track of time and losing the sense of self” (Poole, 2000, p.168). Flow is a state of being immersed in what players do and becoming one with games. Then, flow has four prerequisites which are challenging, clear goals, clear feedback and control in an uncertain situation. These are applied to my experience of pleasure with Proevolution Soccer. This game has these four prerequisites for me. This is always challenging especially when I compete with my friends. Then, the goal is so clear: it is to score goals and win a game. The clear feedback is also obtained because this is the game involving winner and loser: if you become a loser, it is a clear feedback. And, I always have risk to lose when playing with my friends. In this way, four prerequisites are taken. Then, as a result, flow has four effects which are immersion, concentration, oneness and time change. I am completely in flow when I am playing this game. I am immersed and my focus becomes only the screen. What’s more, I become one with players on the pitch as my body sometimes moves as well and time passes really fast. And, when I am one goal behind in last five minutes I become as nervous as real football players do and I often make stupid mistakes because of the nerve. This means that I am completely in flow.

Week 4

What ‘play’ means is a big question involved with games. The idea called the magic circle and the lusory attitude are important to the question. The magic circle is made by Johan Huizinga. Huizinga (1955, p.9) suggests that “play is distinct from ordinary life both as to locality and duration”. The magic circle is the world which has fixed boundaries of time, space and rule. The boundaries can be both physical and psychological; for example, the pitch of football or arm wrestling. For Huizinga, play is to enter the magic circle. Another important notion is the lusory attitude. This idea is “what the magic circle represents from the player’s point of view” (Salen and Zimmerman, 2004, p.97). This attitude is what players need when they enter the magic circle meaning playing games. That is based on the idea that games are inefficient or a waste of energy. In games, unnecessary obstacles to the achievement or certain rules are needed though making games inefficient (Salen and Zimmerman, 2004, p.97). The lusory attitude is for players to accept these rules or inefficiency.

Here, I discuss how I adopt a lusory attitude and enter the magic circle. When I play Final Fantasy I accept rules which seem inefficient. First thing is that we can not save the data everywhere. We need to find save points where we can save the data or in any city. This makes the game inefficient because we can not stop the game when we want. However, this is needed for enjoyment as, when I am in danger meaning I am dying, it is so thrilling and exciting because I have to start again at the point where I saved if I die. Second is that I need to achieve many tasks which is not related to the final aim throughout the game. This is also important to make the game valuable to play. In the magic circle of Final Fantasy, what I get is completely things that I can not do like spelling or killing monsters. These can be seen only in the magic circle.

Week 3

Rhetoric is the language which people use, wittingly or unwittingly, to convince others of their values or beliefs. In other words, rhetoric is, as Salen and Zimmerman(2004, p. 517) put it, “a method that attempts to persuade others that it is correct”. Thus, rhetoric is the expression of the speaker’s value and beliefs. And, rhetoric can take forms not only verbal but written. Then, importantly, rhetoric can be seen in video games and the games reflect lots kinds of values and beliefs of the producers. The rhetoric has big impact on society, as Williams (2003, p.252) says, “the various kinds of spaces in video games might be very important as parameter for social interaction and cultural expression”. Therefore, it is an important task to find what kinds of values and beliefs, rhetoric, games have.

Then, I would like to examine one of the games I have played and reveal rhetoric in it. The game treated here is Derby Stallion, the famous Japanese game, where player become an owner of a farm and grow up race horses. First, players begin with one million pound and get money with making strong horses. The objective of this game is to win every prize of horse race and obtain money and fame. Then, the emphasis is to make strong race horses. This game includes the task to produce and train race horses but training race horse do not have big importance because, though player can chose both train their horses by their selves and leave computer, both have little difference of the strength of their horses. Then, the value of this game is to make lots money is good and bring you high status. This is obvious from the objective. Another value is to use brain is important to get money. This can be seen if we look at the fact of this game that the way to make strong race horses is to have a foal from high priced stallion and have good mixture of blood between stallion and mare. The former is natural because of money players pay. Then, the latter is related to the value of using brain because players need to think deeply in order to have strong horses in this way. Thus, the rhetoric of this game is you can have more money and fame if you use money and brain efficiently.

Week 1

To define the word ‘game’ is a difficult task to finish. Indeed, it is impossible to find one specific definition of game as all seems plausible if differences are given (Saunders, 2000). One interesting suggestion about how game should be defined is made by Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein proposes that there is no same feature that all games are sharing but, instead, games have some similarities if examined carefully. This can be seen with comparing chess and frisbee for example. Chess is a game which involves skill, no luck and competitive and frisbee is a game which involves skill, luck and uncompetitive. Then, the similarity of these two games is skill. In this way, games which seem different can be called game. These similarities are called family resemblance meaning that the similarities that games share are like the similarities that family members have such as the color of eyes or the shape of nose. Furthermore, this notion includes the suggestion that all games are not the same but similar.

This notion is applied to three games, Doom 2, Samorost 2 and the game of life. Doom 2 is a violent and bloody shooting game which allows players to kill the opponents. This game involves skill, no luck and competitive because what are needed to achieve this game are player’s skill and this game continues with the competition with the opponents. Then, Samorost 2 is a quiet and relax puzzle adventure game where players save their dog kidnapped by aliens with solving puzzles. This involves skill, no luck and competitive as puzzle needs player’s skill to be solved and one big fun is competition with other players over how well they can solve puzzles. These two games share similarities though the impression and content of the games are completely different. Next, the game of life is originally a board game in which players compete with their wealth cost throughout their life in the game. Now, it can be played as a video game and online. No skill, luck and competitive are involved in this game because what players need to do is to turn roulette and the fun of this game is competition with others. The similarity of this with other two is competitiveness and it justifies Wittgenstein’s notion that games share similarities. Unlike shooting guns or solving puzzles, player’s action of the game of life is just to turn roulette so these three games look completely different. However, as Wittgenstein suggests, these games share similarities and all can be categorized as ‘game’. The faces of these games are different but some parts, eye or nose, are similar like family members.