Why recreate reality in the game? What kind of fun can we have?


How can a game that seeks to express reality retain its gameplay?

A game that makes me miserable

I want to write this article because I recently played a game called the Starbucks Institute.

This game is the maker’s debut. Steam was called “thesis writer simulator” when it was first released on the website. In the game, the player is transformed into a graduate student who has just entered psychology. The game’s clearance requirement is to publish a dissertation. To this end, the entire game flow is based on “finding literature-reading literature-recruiting participants-conducting experiments-running data-writing papers-submitting”.

There are some joke elements in the game. For example, in this game, the conventional health value is replaced with “volume”, running data consumption, writing paper consumption, and even buying data and papers from good friends; When you are in depression, going to the toilet to “cry and cry” can not only dispatch depression, but also often have unexpected surprises, and obtain resources such as literature, subjects, and data.


Starbucks Institute Steam Interface

Except for some settings that make people laugh, the whole game can only be described as “too real”. For example, sometimes I spend time reading the literature in the game, there will be some rubbish literature that is equivalent to reading; when recruiting the participants, I need to show my positive side, but I am still questioned about the significance of the research; calculation of the results of running overnight The results are not significant and can only be repeated in situ; submissions to cutting-edge journals, and as a result, rejected papers need to start from the beginning.

This reality allows the game experience to be described only in pain, because this game has a lot of exhausting repetitions. If the first 15 minutes is still a novelty to induce me to explore this game, then I can only use a mentality that is almost ascetic to support myself to complete the next 1 hour or so of game content.

Without him, this game is too close to the real scientific research life to some extent, the pain of the long road and endless reincarnation, I think everyone has felt more or less.


Submission rejected (from Steam store)

Starbucks has so far received “excellent praise” on Steam, and I agree that the game itself is worth seeing by more people. Most players praise its authenticity, but as far as I am concerned, during the game, I kept thinking of the podcast “Round Table Debate: Fun, a must-have for a good game” that was a core issue some time ago. If you want to take a stand, I think the game must be fun, a kind of interesting kernel after detaching external appearances such as themes, art, sound effects, etc., a game that can stand the test.

I appreciate the strong practical concern of “Star Rites”. It reflects on academic life in the form of a black humor, but the excellent subject matter and intention cannot hide the pale reality of its gameplay.

“Real” is excellent, but how should we view the terrible game experience brought by this “real”? If our experience in the game is indistinguishable from what we experience in real life, why should we experience it again in the game?

This is the topic I want to explore in this article:Why do we want to reproduce reality in the game, and try to explore whether a game that simulates reality, reflects or reflects on reality, needs to balance the pain of reality with the fun of play itself.

Fun or novelty

The purpose of the game and the relationship between reality and the game can be explored with a concept called “Magic Circle”. This concept was first proposed by Heizinha in The Man of the Game.

Heizinha sees the game as a “magic circle” away from reality. There are independent rules in the circle, where people move only to obtain happiness and investment that are completely different from the vulgar daily life, that is, the aesthetic experience in the sense of Plato. As Plato believes, people play games to enter a state of mind different from the current state of mind.

If we want to summarize the formal characteristics of the game, we may wish to call it a free activity, an activity that consciously breaks away from ordinary life and makes it “not serious”, and at the same time makes the gamer devote himself to forgetting the activity. -Heizinha

“Flow experience” is the most commonly sought-after fun in games, which is usually manifested in some competitive games. From traditional chess and card games, gambling and sports competitions to video games MOBA and CCG, a high degree of concentration and full commitment is a way to draw people out of reality. But this withdrawal is not completely isolated from reality. Playing with leaders and playing with brothers are obviously two completely different mentalities, and friendly matches and official matches will also allow contestants to choose different competitive strategies.

The social life background of the game still deeply affects the game world.

The desire to escape the vulgar everyday and the curiosity of others’ lives is a game but another attraction. This can explain the charm of RPG games. We can become the other in the “magic circle” of the game. Regardless of whether you are male or female, in age, Ubisoft can let players participate in the Peloponnesian War and witness the glory and disintegration of ancient Greece. During the French Revolution, you can chat and laugh with Napoleon; Nintendo gives players a chance to “ride a motorcycle and ride Hailaru”; the island makes players the most handsome courier to save all humanity.

But in some situations, the game is not completely separated from reality. For example, Jesper Juul, the organizer of Nordic Game Jam, believes that the game space is not a circle, but a dynamic “Jigsaw puzzle“. The boundaries of the game space will change according to reality, in order to be able to be stitched together with the rules of reality. In the game, we are still unavoidably affected by our social, economic, and cultural background in the real world. This is in the role of plasticity It is most obvious in the very strong MMORPG. Although the anonymized player using the network can create a completely different self in the game, an avatar, but the choices in the game, such as making an “output”, “T “Or” assistance “still reflects the personality characteristics of the player itself. For this type of game, people are just seeking an” if life can come back “,” exploring another possible self “attempt.

So in summary,Games are inevitably intertwined with reality, but good games must provide players with pure gameplay fun or a novel game experience that is beyond reality, so that players can be fully engaged or meet another life’s curiosity.

Looking back at reality with games

Man is an animal suspended in a web of meaning woven by himself. -Weber

Games that replicate reality or simulate reality certainly make sense. One possible explanation comes from hermeneutic anthropology. Interpretive anthropologists, represented by Clifford Gertz, believe that culture comes from interpretation, and we can gain meaning only by reflecting on life itself in the form of real life. That’s why we read poetry and novels, watch dramas and movies. “Lear of Kings” and “Sin and Punishment” are metaphors of “death, masculinity, passion, self-esteem, failure, good deeds, and opportunities”, and “Game of Thrones” and “The Lord of the Rings” are “power, desire, war, tattering , Dignity and humanity “, we need to see life in art.

Back to Starbucks itself, the game looks at reality like a “Boring abstract“The series of QTE gameplay used in games often makes me feel like an alienated Foxconn assembly line worker, who looks at the screen mechanically and unknowingly and clicks the mouse. In addition to the boring gameplay, there is also a one-sided depiction of reality. I do n’t think that what the author wants to express in the game may be the spirit of craftsmanship or perseverance. “We ca n’t refuse to get on the bus because the subway at morning rush seems to be full.” We ca n’t give up our business because of fear. Things are perfect. This has also been pointed out in some player reviews. But after all, scientific research activities are not as boring as the works indicate, academics bring “a little bit of wisdom in intelligence” and “surprises when flashes of light” “I have been removed, which makes me regret.

Games are, of course, a medium to look back.There is no universal objective standard for the balance between playfulness and expression. But there are differences and levels of expression in the media, but the most important thing is that the expression itself cannot be sacrificed completely at the expense of gameplay. This may be the core of the 2019 annual game battle “Whether a Walking Simulator is Fun”.

Author:The Ordinary
Original address: https://www.gcores.com/articles/118972

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