Today I sifted through two sources of Richard Bartle to get a handle on his player types model. For those who do not know, Bartle was one of the designers on MUD, the first of its kind. MUD (a Multi-User-Dungeon) is what MMORPGs are based upon. Games like Everquest and World of Warcraft owe a lot to the world of MUDs, and to Richard Bartle in particular. In 1996, Bartle wrote “Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit Muds“, an article which looked at players of MUD2 and tried to understand what people thought was fun in a MUD. Many years later, Bartle revised his model in Designing Virtual Worlds. The model was much the same, but expanded. Here, I have my notes on what Bartle described in these two sources.
Lately I have been touting around a shortcut phrase for what I am looking at in my other projects. The phrase is “Using Narrative as a Mechanic”. This phrase is wrong. I’m going to spend some time here discussing what I really mean by this phrase. First, though the problem of the phrase.
On November 26th, 2011, I finished a prototypical game as a portion of my fulfillment of one of my graduate classes this semester. The game, For the Love of Salt: A Prelude, was an attempt to address the notion that story is reserved for easier modes in gameplay. Here I will give a brief background on how the project started, and then explain what I think worked and what I think didn’t work. I will end with what I think needs to be done going forward to form this into fortified theory.
So, for the past month I have slowly been working on a game project for a class I am taking. The class is Language and Learning in a Digital Age, and a lot of it is about literacy, or how we as individuals morph and understand language, particularly in this age where language is everywhere and is evolving in new media. That being said, I approached this project a bit in the wrong direction. Today I’m going to try to wind it back to something that fits with the class I am taking.
I, like many, many other game players recently, have begun playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DX:HR). I am not really any good at aiming on a console. I’m very much a mouse and keyboard kind of person. And even then, I stick to games that have a low reaction time requirement. So why did I decide to play DX:HR? Part of it was because I saw everyone else playing it, and part of it was that my roommate played it and it looked like some fun. But what really got me to playing the game was that it was a game that supposedly let you play however you wanted. I was interested in seeing how they did it. I was also interested, keenly so, in breaking it.
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.