Tag: magic circle

Roll an Intelligence Check: Optimization and The Magic Circle


source: http://zepher234.deviantart.com/art/Magic-Circle-Eternity-178166493?q=gallery%3Azepher234%2F4138142&qo=117 – artist zepher234

Twinking, munchkin gaming, power-gaming, Min/Maxing these are a few of the (negative) terms used to refer to the practice of character optimization. Judging by the fact that this practice has so many pejoratives with which to refer to it, it would seem as if this is a practice scorned by many members of the gaming community. My question is why?  Why take so much offense to character optimization? The only truly “valid” answer I could come up with is that optimization breaks the magic circle. To optimize a character requires a player to minimize the base traits that your particular character won’t need, while maximizing the ones that most benefit the role your character will.… Read the rest

Business Model as Genre

The games industry is, as its name implies, an industry—built upon a standard funding and revenue cycle one would expect from any industry. Video games have been the subject of business, mass-marketing and profiteering since their inception. Only until recently, however, there was a clear line between the game and the business. Money was spent to play the game, of course, but the act of playing the game was divorced from the act of spending money on it. One might have had to scrape together the cash to purchase Super Mario Bros. but, once the game started, the player would be far more concerned with mushrooms and turtles than the money that had been spent for the privilege.… Read the rest

Party Games: B.U.T.T.O.N

Ladies and gentlemen I introduce to you a new kind of video game: B.U.T.T.O.N (aka Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally Ok Now, 2010). I stumbled across this gem while browsing the Game Studies website. The games creator, Douglas Wilson writes an article explaining his game and what it has to say about the concept of multiplayer game design. The game itself is simple. In Pong terms, the instructions would go something like: “Avoid Having Your Button Pressed for High Score” or “Avoid Not Pressing Your Button for High Score”. In BUTTON, two to eight players place their Xbox controllers on a surface and take a prescribed number of steps away from the screen before racing to the controllers to press a button as specified on the screen.… Read the rest

Searching for Words in Dear Esther

I’ll admit, the first time I played through Dear Esther I was severely disappointed and a bit confused. I had expected this to be a survival horror since I’d heard that thechineseroom is also developing levels for the new Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs game coming out this summer. I found that Esther was lacking in what I had expected from a game.

On the other hand, I found that Dear Esther wasn’t a game at all: It was a work of poetry.


Dear Esther stretches the definition of the video game to its limits by only requiring  its player  to press the  forward key and explore a beautifully crafted island off the shore of Scotland.  … Read the rest