I won’t put all notes from today’s seminar on line as the ppt-files apparently will be uploaded soon.
I will mention the “aha!” though. Manu Pärssinen talked of current trends in the gaming world. Apparently, innovative and creative games do appeal to reviewers but not to the consumers as these games don’t sell. Licensed games and sequels on the other hand sell well, such as NHL 2005 and Cars. Does this mean that parents are a large percentage of the game buyers? Does it mean that it’s easier to buy a game with characters you’ve seen in the movies and on posters around town, than a game with unknown characters but with great reviews? Seems like the Long tail theory doesn’t apply here, although that’s how I pick my games.
About games and playing games, I enjoyed watching an enjoyment element in playing in action last weekend. We were a group of friends playing Alhambra, or Alahärmä as we call it, a great game, get it if you of some weird reason don’t already own it (and no, there‘s not a stock of money on my bank account now). Usually, there’s one clear leader and one evident poor looser when we play the game, leaving a bunch of mediocrities in the middle competing with each other. Therefore, most don’t really fight for winning but to get in second or third. No real challenge. But this time, all of us were doing about equally good. No one lagged desperately behind, no one spurted ahead and therefore, the fighting spirit and challenge increased big time. Everyone stood a chance to win and it made the game so much better and pleasurable. At the end, all agreed it was one heck of a game, much more enjoyable when you competed against everyone, not just a couple of contestants. Although one conclusion at today’s seminar was that the definition of a good game is very individual and hard to boil down to, say “a good story”, “graphics”, “social context”, I wonder if not challenge is applicable to most gamers. If there’s no evident challenge, then is there pleasure and enjoyment? I doubt that.