PHASEgaming

Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


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Mario Kart 64- Game Theory

 

Mario Kart 64 is a racing game developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 console as the latest addition to iconic character Mario’s list of games. The game is multiplayer compatible so you can play with your friends on your Nintendo 64 console if you had extra controllers through split-screen. You could play as 8 playable characters from previous Mario games Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Bowser, Wario and Donkey Kong.

Flow:

Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi’s theory of flow applies to Mario Kart 64 through racing, when you race you want to win to be first place in every race is the main target for any gamer. To finish 2nd or 3rd and be presented on a podium with a silver or bronze is only a downgrade from what you really wanted that ultimate racer 1st place. To race in the game it requires you to drive around 1 of 16 circuit tracks which have obstacles, corners and pick ups (weapons or power ups), you have to be focused on the game to overcome any challenges you are presented with whilst on the track. Personally for me to achieve flow in mario kart whilst racing against 3 other students we was on Rainbow road the hardest track on the game with opportunities to fall off the track and lose position on nearly every corner, control of your kart is difficult and needs high skill for the challenge. This is to be repeated for 3 laps whilst other players fire shells at you leave banana’s on the track and so on, winning this race was a proud moment for me i felt in flow throughout the race and nothing was going to get in my way of my 1st place goal.

flow

To link to the diagram for Mario Kart when you are losing or keep getting hit by everything coming near you, it loses your want to play the game you enter apathy as you feel rubbish at the game but dont feel you should be in the position you are so its not like the game is hard. Or you could be racing against people in your group claiming to be mario kart 64 professionals on the hardest track and beat them to win the race entering flow throughout (that was me against Barrie).

Categories of Play:

For Roger Caillois’s ‘categories of play’ Mario Kart 64 would fall under primarily ‘Agon’. Agon is games of competition, with Mario Kart 64 you are playing to win the race or beat your best times. The added feature of muliplayer interactivity in this game adds to the competition as you want to beat your friends. There are in game cups to add to the competition as you want to win the championships in your kart to prove you are the best racer by completing the game.

It also falls under ‘Alea’. Alea is games of chance, with Mario Kart 64 chance is a big part. One corner a banana may have been left but you serve round it to see a red shell coming for you (homing missile) but it hits the banana, this is one of many examples first place may get hit by a blue shell (homing missile just for 1st place) before the finish line and you take the lead.

Mimicry also applies as Mario is a fantasy character and you race in Mario’s fantasy world and settings which the circuits are based on, you play as the avatar you select in the race to experience this fantasy world.

Bartle Test:

To link this into Bartle’s test which defines you as a player through a series of questions this type of game being puzzle based and score based would appeal more to an ‘achiever’ style of player rather than the others due to the achiever always wants to win. You always want to win the race or the championship either against the computer or your friends so achieving that is your aim.

‘Socialiser’ also applies when muliplayer gameplay comes into it as you are racing with your friends or family around the circuits, this can be an enjoyable experience which can also cause bonding or the opposite as you hit your Dad with that red shell on the final corner to the take the win and he storms off as “you didn’t deserve it”.


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CATS Presentation Evaluation

For my presentation I had to create a timeline of the history of gaming with key moments in that timeline with links to each topic. The 3 topics I chose was Pong, How Nintendo saved the Games Industry and The Evolution of the PlayStation. The key content that I addressed in my presentation was that each 3 topics are iconic in there own way and it works perfectly linked as without the previous topic the next wouldn’t have ever happened. Pong is the first commercially successful game which incidentally caused the beginning of the gaming industry, yes there was games before but Pong was the first one to be commercially successful making Atari Inc. the main runners in the games industry. Without Pong doing this Nintendo wouldn’t have come about as Nintendo entered the market originally with a variation of home pong on a home console.

Thus leading to my 2nd topic Nintendo saving the game community after the video game crash of 1983-85 with rules such as the Nintendo Seal of Quality and the limitation to 5 games a year to prevent flooding of the market which resulted in them dominating over 70% of the market. So this was probably the biggest turning point in gaming history.

Which then incidentally links to my final topic of Evolution of the PlayStation, without Nintendo saving the games industry this would have never happened but that’s not Nintendo’s only involvement in the PlayStation. Nintendo worked with Sony and Phillips to create a CD-ROM/ Cartridge system called the Play Station (notice the gap this is how Sony escape Nintendo’s grasp) but when the operation went sour Nintendo closed it but behind there backs Sony continued and launched a few systems, dropped the SNES port closed the gap in the name so Nintendo had no hold on the PlayStation. Which is now currently with the Ps4 the fastest ever selling console in the UK.  This outlines my PowerPoint briefly and points out key factors showing the links.

I felt like my presentation went well I turned up in a Christmas jumper and funny Santa glasses to lighten up the mood in the classroom before I began so people might be more engaged in my work. Once removed and professional I felt I delivered it well to the class, I must say I did stumble a few times when speaking and had to refer back to the screen for words but I tried to make as much eye contact with everyone to engage them in the talk. I used my own personal experiences with certain features to bring slight humour to the PowerPoint as it was quite information heavy and less visual but I still felt I made it work. Things I learnt from researching this topic was that I learnt that I myself do have a good knowledge about gaming history as most of my topics I knew enough detail about to expand on without script whilst presenting, things I gathered such as statistics and key facts were useful to help make an addition to my knowledge as its something I can use in the future being my chosen career path.

The improvements I would make on my PowerPoint would be mainly the way it was portrayed, I did feel when I was putting it on the projector that it was more text orientated than visual so if I included a few more pictures as a visual aid maybe it would have helped assist the talk better. Also I would like to improve on my personal presentation skills I was referring back to the screen a few times and this could have been avoided with say some little note cards of speech which would have given me a much more strong body language than I felt I had.

Other information I would include is a few videos to help me present, I did have a video on the PlayStation topic but due to timing I didn’t get chance to use it so if I cut down the information I could have shown some video with some narrative information. Other than that I felt for my topics that I covered them well in my script and presentation, I presented it like everyone in the audience was completely oblivious to what I was talking about so facts and information was all given to not a patronising level but an informative level.

I felt that I have learnt some very useful key statistics for my chosen topics which will definitely be relevant in my other work, I have learnt how to improve and mould my presentation skills to assist me to present in a better way should I need to present my work in the future, I learnt some interesting facts about the likes of how much Pong earned a day $400-500 which was un heard of in the coin operated system industry previously and things like a survey in the USA found that more of them recognised Mario to Mickey Mouse at the time of Super Mario Bros after the game crash. Overall I am really pleased with my outcomes from the presentation I felt I did a good job and gave the audience enough information as well as my own personal views/experiences to assist them to a more personal level of the information.

 


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Introduction to Games Design- Research Topic Focus

I have been given a brief for our module of an interactive presentation timeline of the history of gaming. After given this we was shown a video called Thumb Candy- The History of Computer Games. Iain Lee is the presenter who takes us through the history of gaming from the first Space wars! in 1961 to the year of 2000 with Tekken Tag Tournament. Since then there have been many iconic games and consoles but this video was brilliant use to us for research in our brief as it covered a huge range of the gaming industries history. So what I wanted to do from that was do similar to this but bring it up to date as recent games such as Halo and Assassins Creed have to go down as iconic games.

This video did focus much on the companies in gaming and the alteration between who was the top from Atari to Nintendo. My focus of research that I picked out of a hat was “Icons of Gaming”, this topic I was very pleased with as I could do a wide range of topics from characters to designers and everything in-between in the gaming industry.  So I could have centralised Thumb Candy as my pure research and guideline, but I wanted to focus my research and gather it myself so I felt more engaged with the topic. Due to this I decided to choose “Iconic Games”. Once choosing this I did realise that in my research that this is a very debated topic as everyone has their own tastes, for example my preference is to games I grew up playing such as Spyro, Crash bandicoot and Pokémon whereas I am not a fan of Zelda but I wont neglect that it is a huge game because of my own personal views. Due to this being a debated topic it will take my extensive research and maybe even a survey for people to enter to give their own preferences to find my iconic games.

#gta-then-and-now#sypro

My idea for my interactive presentation even before my research has been gathered was to have a levelled game which did iconic games through the generations of gaming right up until the 7th generation, I decided the 8th generation was to be excluded as its not yet to come out although it is soon I think a clearer research will be determined if I focused on 1st-7th generation of gaming. So with the time period settled I drew up a plan for my levelled game with some ideas for which games would fit in. The idea would be as you take the ball or the character into a item it would bring up information on the screen then you can go back and forth to re-read certain parts or enter the final ball to start the next level which would be the next generation.