Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about describing the mechanics of Catherine based on the descriptions of the Player-Game Descriptive Index (PGDI). I had decided to split it up into two parts, the first post looking at the Customization, Progression, and Social categories. There was supposed to be a follow-up post last week that described Catherine via the Immersion, Mastery and Participation categories, but as you may or may not have noticed, that did not happen. Without going into too many details, I decided that I had written enough for the first month of the semester and met with some professors to greatly adjust what I am doing this semester for their class. Basically, the goals for what I was going to do this semester were inadvertently already met within the first month, and we decided that the rest of my work was unnecessary. So I proposed a new semester’s work and now I will be aiming towards something I wasn’t going to touch this early. There will be more details about that in a separate post. For now, let’s just get down to describing the Immersion, Mastery, and Participation categories of Catherine.
In today’s post I will be describing the game Catherine through the framework of my model, the Player-Game Descriptive Index (PGDI). Earlier this month, I described the mechanics present in Catherine, based upon a playthrough I completed. To describe the game, I will be using the descriptions provided by my recent posts on PGDI. This will be the first of two parts, and it will be focused on describing the Social, Customization, and Progression components of Catherine. I will do so based upon my field notes and recorded gameplay. The scale I will be using for components is: none < weak < fair < medium < strong <total. A score of none means that the game does not exhibit the component in any way, while a score of total means that every aspect of the game exhibits the component. Few components will be none or total.
So last year, you may remember, I worked on developing a model of player types that could also be used to describe games. This led into a model that tries to do better than genre at describing games, based upon a synthesis of four models of play style/motivation [Bartle’s, Yee’s, DGD1 and BrainHex]. The result was the Player-Game Descriptive Index (PGDI) model for describing video games and their players. The synthesis research and model descriptions will be available from McFarland sometime in the spring or summer this year. It is in the spring catalog and you can watch for it here. So, because it has been quite a large project for me, and because it will be some time before the book actually comes out, I have decided to finally write out the descriptions for each of the components so that people can see them. These will be a bit different from the descriptions in my chapter of the book, but the ones in the book are better situated, so use what you will if you do. I make no money on the sales of the book, though I am sure my editor (Zach Waggoner) does and he’s a good guy (he let me write a chapter in his book, after all!). So without much further ado, I’ll get into a brief description of the structure of PGDI, and then go into the components’ descriptions.
This semester, I have a book-a-week class on games in culture. I’ve tentatively decided to try giving a go at posting a blog on each after both reading and discussing the book in class. This is a bit ambitious, considering all I have to do, so I might get backlogged. Please bear with me 🙂
The first book we read for class is Roger Caillois’s Man, Play and Games, a rather foundational book for games studies. Caillois discusses the social nature of play and tries his best to categorize play into four distinct categories (with two distinct styles). I, personally, latch on to theoretical frame works (and subvert them, usually), and this is mostly what I got out of the book. To a sociologist, the chapters on sociocultural play practices might be infinitely more interesting than a theoretical framework. Here is my take-away.