A Casual Reflection

Lawrence King

Digital Narratives

Sample

April 23, 2018

While reading my peers’ posts I noticed a pattern among people who shared their logs on casual games. They all pointed out similar characteristics in their game. They also referenced the same author’s claims about casual games in their posts. So I decided to reflect on the casual game logs.

Multiple people talked about the “juiciness” of the game and the varying degrees of punishment. In “I literally have no vowels” and “Let’s make juice” both students mentioned this. In Words with friends 2, the game is very juicy with no punishment while in Fruit Ninja, there are varying degrees of punishment. In one mode of Fruit Ninja there’s no punishment but in others, you can lose points and lives if you hit bombs or drop fruit.

One post was similar to my own casual game post. We both commented on how our games were excellent time killers. In “Jumping for Jewels,” this student talks about how many hours he spent mindlessly swiping and matching on his phone. Like 2048, the concept of the game is simple but still incredibly addictive.

Two students talked about their casual game’s interruptibility in “The addictiveness of balls and numbers” and “Super Casual Bros.” In Ballz, this student mentions that the game has a pause button which allows the player to stop and resume at any time. In Super Mario Strikers, this student talks about how he/she can play a short game in between class. Both posts imply that these casual games don’t require a huge time investment like most console games.

My peers, like myself, all drew connections to Jesper Juul’s “A Casual Revolution” article. In that article, he talks about the characteristics a casual game should have. These include fiction, usability, interruptibility, difficulty, and juiciness. A casual game should be fictitious, easy to use, requires a small time investment, is difficult to master but not so difficult you stop playing and juicy, meaning the game encourages you when you do something good.

After reflecting on their posts, I have some questions that I think are worth pondering. Would casual games lose their appeal if they were more difficult? If a game wasn’t “juicy” how long would it be popular? What is it about simple games like 2048 that make them so addictive? And finally, if a game lacks one of Juul’s characteristics, does the game stop being casual?

4 Fallout Myths

Lawrence King

Digital Narratives

Sample

April 13, 2018

After doing some research I learned some weird things about Fallout 4. I discovered myths that surround the game. There are multiple mythical locations, creatures, and people in the game. I’m going to talk about four of the myths. Two locations and two creatures.

The first location is Fairline Hill Estates. Fairline consists of six buildings in a cul-de-sac. If you bring someone with you, they will usually mention that they feel uncomfortable and want to leave. If you bring a man named, Preston Garvey to the estate, he mentions that it used to be a Minuteman settlement. There are also a couple of clues that help you to figure out what happened to the settlement.

The second location is Red Death Island. It is located in the south-west sea of the Far Harbor add-on map. When you travel to the island, however, no map marker will appear, even if you go during the quest, ”The Great Hunt”.  Apparently, the island is the location of the ominous Red Death. The island is quite small and is usually quite well hidden by Far Harbor’s fog.

The first creature is The Red Death. It’s a creature said to haunt the fog of Far Harbor. It is located on Red Death Island. The Red Death was feared for many years by the fisherman of The Island, many claiming that the red light frequently spotted during long periods of fog were from the creature as it killed many people. Once the fog rolled into the harbor, all fisherman would stop what they were doing and get away from the sea. However, despite all the rumors and “sightings”, it was discovered that the Red Death is actually a very small, completely docile creature with glowing red eyes whose shine pierces the fog and lures curious captains to their doom.

The second creature and final myth is the Mother of the Fog. The Mother is a sacred spirit worshiped by members of the Children of Atom, as they believe her to be a saint of their god, Atom. She is a dark, ghostly figured shrouded in black smoke. Many players claim to have seen her appear then disappear in various locations in the fog of Far Harbor. Fallout 4 is such a large and expansive game that it’s not surprising if you see some weird things. They make the game more interesting in my opinion.

 

Work Cited

  1. Fallout Myths Wiki. Myths and Legends in Fallout 4. http://bit.ly/2ofNAGA

 

 

 

 

Stranger GTA Things

Lawrence King

Digital Narratives

Sample

April 13, 2018

After doing some research I learned some weird things about GTA V. I discovered myths and strange phenomena that surround the game. I also found out that the game has had a large number of fans who spend their time hunting for clues to make sense out of what they’ve found. I’m going to focus on one myth in particular.

The myth that I discovered has to do with the San Andreas Woodlands. The myth is known as “Panic in the Woods.” Panic in the Woods is a strange phenomenon that is based on the claim that, on rare occasions in the San Andreas woodlands, a high pitched buzzing noise will be playing loudly and the player character’s health will gradually decrease until he returns to civilization.

There are people who believe the myth to be associated with a Pagan god, namely Pan. According to the blog The Paranormal Guide, victims experience an overwhelming feeling of paranoia, such as a sinister force nearby, and sense imminent danger. This usually leads the person to flee the area, seeking out civilization. One common characteristic of panic is, that people often describe that the woodlands will go completely silent, deafening the witness before the loud pitch sound sets in a few moments later. The experience in the game is a little different.

In the game, the panic begins with a sudden, complete silence that turns into an annoying buzzing sound. After a few minutes have passed, the player character’s health will slowly decrease, and the character may say some unusual dialogue. Once the character leaves the woods and reaches a town, or even comes across a road or an NPC, everything returns to normal. Some believe that the panic is just an audio glitch. But an audio glitch doesn’t explain the loss of health.

A huge game like GTA V is bound to have some myths attached to it. It’s such a large and expansive world that it’s not surprising if you see some weird things. These myths and phenomena could be Easter eggs left by a designer of the game or just something random a coder decided to sneak into the game on a whim. Either way, there are people who won’t stop until they get to the bottom of it.

Work Cited

1.     GTA Myths Wiki. Panic in the Woods. http://bit.ly/2GmaT8M

 

2048 Phenomena

Lawrence King

Digital Narratives

Sample

April 13, 2018

After doing some research I learned some cool things about 2048. I discovered its origins. I found out that the game has had a large number of imitators. I also discovered the effect the game has had on the people who play it.

2048 was created by an Italian teenager named Gabriele Cirulli who apparently invented the game on a whim one weekend in an effort, to see if he could code a game from scratch. He was surprised to see it launch 100,000 tweets and countless knock-offs. People were still tweeting and knocking-off his game 30 days later.

It turns out that 2048 was not an original idea. Cirulli admitted in an interview, the idea of 2048 wasn’t original; that it came to him via a contact. Cirulli, in an interview, said he was inspired to create 2048 because of two games; 2048, from Saming, and 1024, from Veewo Studio. His idea was to unite the features of both games, so he ended up using “2048” as the name in his version too.

Cirulli had decided not to monetize 2048 because he’s “anti-app.” He said he’s anti-app, in an interview, for two reasons. “The first is ethical: I will not make money off of something that I didn’t invent – it would be unfair. The second is technical: the game is open source, and this means that anyone can take the source code and publish it as an app. I don’t think this genre needs competition, that would only lead to market saturation. The original game is always available on Github, for free.”

2048 has also been the inspiration for a multitude of knock-offs. Like Cirulli said, the game is open source, so anyone is free to tinker with the code. There has been a dog version of the game where instead of numbered tiles you have dog heads. There’s also a Doctor Who version and a Beyoncé GIF version. People spend hours upon hours playing this addictive game and creating new versions of it. The game took the world by storm and even though it’s died down, people are still getting swept up in it; myself included.

Works Cited

1.     Dewey, Caitlin. Everything you ever wanted to know about 2048, the Internet’s latest impossible hit game. April 23, 2014. http://wapo.st/2ofZ38Z

2.     Softonic. The creator of 2048 tells us the secret behind the game’s success. March 26, 2014. http://bit.ly/2Cv4upr

 

Metagame – Distressed

I decided to make a game that would comment on the overused Damsel in Distress trope. I wanted to tell a story, that featured this trope, from the “Damsel’s” perspective. The goal of this metagame was to make the players understand what it’s like to be a female character in most mainstream video games. I wanted to make a statement with “Distressed.” I wanted to show how cliché and overused this trope is in the world of games.

Game Link: file:///C:/Users/Lawrence%20King/Downloads/Distressed.html

Sounds Like Fallout

Lawrence King

Digital Narratives

Sample

March 2, 2018

In this game log, I want to focus on the audio of Fallout 4. I’m going to talk about how the sounds of Fallout 4 affects the game. I’ll focus on the diegetic and non-diegetic sounds of the game. I’ll also talk about the effect the audio had on me personally while playing the game during my session.

Fallout 4 has a lot going on in its soundtrack. It’s a free-world game and in this post-apocalyptic world, there’s a bunch of different sounds. When I’m walking around I can hear nature all around me. I can hear the animals, the wind, my own breathing. There’s a lot of music in this game too. In certain scenes or locations, there will be non-diegetic music playing that matches that particular scene and sets the mood. For example, during the opening narration of the game, there’s sad reflective music playing that matches the wars being shown. The music evokes an emotion.

In addition to music, there’s also the sounds of the weapons. The gunshots are clear and authentic, I can hear the sound my fist makes when it hits an enemy, the whack from a baton, etc. All of the sounds make the Fallout world more realistic and believable. These sounds are sounds that you’re used to hearing in other sci-fi games, movies, and real life; so you expect to hear them in this kind of game otherwise the immersion spell is broken, and you believe the game’s story a little less.

The audio in this game did have an effect on me. Hearing the music from the past and obscure artists set the mood for me. The sounds from the weapons made me focus more on the game and the environment and put me in survival mode. The preciseness of the sounds, of my every move and nature all around me made me feel like I was a part of the world. Without the audio, Fallout 4 would not be as immersive or realistic. It’s an important aspect of the game that would drastically affect the game’s realism and appeal if it wasn’t included.

 

 

GT-Audio

Lawrence King

Digital Narratives

Sample

March 2, 2018

In this game log, I want to focus on the audio of GTA V. I’m going to talk about how the sound of GTA V affects the game. I’ll focus on the diegetic sounds of the game. I’ll also talk about the effect the audio had on me personally while playing the game during my session.

GTA V has a lot of audio. It’s a free-world game and there’s an entire city full of people and they all have something to say. When I’m walking the streets, I hear people talking about their problems and casual topics. I can hear the cars passing, the waves of the water and the animals. When I’m driving, I have the option to choose from multiple radio stations. I can play music from multiple genres like hip-hop, rock, and Spanish music. There’s even one station that is hosted by real-life comedian and actor JB Smoove. He’s mostly known for his recurring role in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” starring Larry David.

In addition to music, there’s also the sounds of the weapons. The gunshots are clear and authentic, the roar of a car’s engine, the explosion from a rocket-launcher, etc. All of the sounds make the GTA world more realistic and believable. These sounds are sounds that you hear in real life and so you expect to hear them in this kind of game otherwise the immersion spell is broken, and you believe the game’s story a little less.

The audio in this game did have an effect on me. Hearing the popular music from today made me happy and set the mood for me. Listening to some of my favorite comedians, like JB Smoove, speak on the radio made me laugh. Listening to the slang of some of the characters made me feel like I was in my old neighborhood. The sounds from the weapons made me focus more on the game and the environment and put me in survival mode. Without the audio, GTA V would not be as immersive or realistic. It’s an important aspect of the game that would drastically affect the game’s popularity and appeal if it wasn’t included.

2048 Tunes

Lawrence King

Digital Narratives

Sample

March 2, 2018

In this game log, I want to focus on the audio of 2048. I’m going to talk about how the sound of 2048 affects the game and how it doesn’t. I’ll compare 2048 to other casual games on the market. I’ll also talk about the effect the audio had on me personally while playing the game during my session.

There isn’t a lot of sound in 2048. In fact, the only sound you can hear while playing the game is a little bell sound when you match the tiles correctly. The sound in this game doesn’t really affect the gameplay. This game’s concept is simple, so it makes sense that the audio in the game is simple too.

More complex casual games like Candy Crush and Subway Surfers have more dynamic sounds. There’s music playing in Subway Surfers and every time you collect the coins there’s a corresponding sound. When you hit something like the trains or barricades there’s a sound effect to accompany that action. Candy Crush has music too and cool sound effects when you use a special candy. 2048 just keeps it simple.

Most casual games, like 2048, don’t really need complex audio because they’re meant to pass the time. Most casual game players play in public spaces. When I’m in New York, I see people play casual games on the train and in waiting rooms and almost always, they turn the sound off. They just want to pass the time until they get to their next destination. It’s not like a console game that’s in your home. You don’t want to play a console game in silence because that would be boring. Console games are expected to have cool audio because they’re inherently more complex and players want to get lost in that world and for that, audio is an important aspect.

I wasn’t really affected by the audio in 2048. The experience of the game doesn’t change for me whether the sound is on or off. Most casual games don’t really need complex audio for it to be enjoyable. Most players of casual games turn the sound off in my experience. Complex audio is a nice addition to casual games but I believe that the game’s real purpose is to pass the time and, in 2048’s case, audio isn’t needed to fulfill its purpose.

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